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My mother never appointed anyone POA. Not for financial and not for healthcare. She did not become a ward of the state when she developed dementia. CarlaCB is right. As long as there are any relatives around they will be called upon to make decisions. You can refuse, of course, but you will be asked. If everyone refuses repeatedly, perhaps then making someone a ward of the state occurs.

Someone had to sign off when my mother went on hospice care. I did. They would have accepted signature from any of her 7 children.

Mally, is it just the official status of POA you don't want, or are you estranged from your mother and want nothing to do with her?

Your mother can appoint anyone who accepts the appointment. It does not have to be a relative. It might be good if she does that. It would let you off the hook, so to speak.
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Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but as a practical matter, if something happens to your mother someone will call you (or your brother, or both) regardless of whether you've accepted power of attorney. You are still next of kin. The doctor or hospital or other facility will need to cover their butts by having next of kin sign off on whatever course of treatment they prescribe. Other people will likely call you as well - her landlord, neighbors, etc. I know this from having a sister who is an addict and alcoholic, and I've experienced all these issues first-hand. Unless your mother appoints someone else and makes clear that her children are not to be involved with her care, you will be called. Count on it.
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Like said, as a child you are not responsible for debts of your parents as a POA. Financial POA gives you the power to pay bills when Mom can't. Sell or liquidate assets to help with her care. Medical POA is in place to carry out her wishes. Also gives you access to her medical info. Just because ur a child, doctors can't talk to you unless Mom has listed you as someone they can talk to. If Mom can't give permission HIPAA will not allow her medical info go out unless a medical POA is in place. Both POAs made my life so easy. If u don't want the responsibility tell Mom so she can assign someone.
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mally1, being Power of Attorney can be very simple or very complex. It depends on how Mom is doing and if she is easy going when it comes to decisions made by others. Sounds like your Mom is still sharp and she remain that way for the rest of her life, I see from your profile Mom issues are mobility.

I feel it is very important for everyone to have a Power of Attorney for themselves, even you and your brother should have your own in case there is a situation where you are unable to make decisions for yourselves. Only family know how you think and what you would prefer.

If there is no Power of Attorney for Mom, as Countrymouse mentioned above, a guardian is appointed. Thus a stranger will be deciding for your Mom, and may make decisions that neither you nor your brother like.

Time for you and your brother to re-talk this subject, and vote for what would be THE best interest for your Mom.
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Those responsible for her care will have to apply to have her made a ward of the state, and the courts will appoint a guardian.

I don't mean this to sound judgemental, but what is your ongoing concern? That you might be lumbered with responsibilities that you've already rejected? Unless you and/or brother are unusually rich and have no good reasons not to contribute to your mother's care you won't be required to - it's hardly in your mother's best interests for her to be made the responsibility of people who've explicitly washed their hands of her.

I should add that I can quite understand that you can love someone very much and still be extremely wary of becoming over involved or overcommitted in her life. Do you mind if I ask what your and brother's reservations are?
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