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Can you claim power of attorney over someone else?

When a relative, loved one, or other person deeply involved in your life becomes incapacitated, the experience can be devastating. Adding to the frustration is the possibility that the person is not only mentally or physically incapable of handling his or her own legal and financial matters, but unable to willfully grant power of attorney under Massachusetts law. When that happens, you may have to face the possibility of taking alternative routes to manage the person's financial and legal affairs, particularly if they impact you. But can you claim power of attorney over someone who does not have the capacity to grant it?

Because power of attorney is usually granted, attaining it over someone who cannot grant it would be a difficult option in court. However, you have the option to file a petition with the Massachusetts state courts for guardianship over an incapacitated person. The application requires extensive details on the level of incapacity of the person you seek guardianship over, as well as reasons why you should be granted guardianship powers. Without the other person willfully granting durable power of attorney, the people most likely to gain a guardianship would be a spouse or parent.

You may apply for a limited guardianship, which only involves managing certain financial and personal matters, or for general guardianship. General guardianship is far more extensive and comes with a higher level of responsibility, and the court petition requires that you enter reasons to make a case for obtaining overarching general guardianship. You will require an official medical certificate declaring the other person's incapacity as part of the process.

This article is offered as an information resource only, and should not be misconstrued as legal advice or counsel.

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