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Couple married for greater than 20 years both are facing personal health crisis. Biological son of wife wants POA for his mother. Does her husband automatically get this privilege?

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Sue does not mention dementia, she says health crisis. Just being clear. It could be something like COPD or even Cancer... But I agree they both need to assign POA to someone!
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Jeanne is right. A person can elect a POA for themselves as long as they aren't declared incompetent. No one can become an automatic POA. The person has to choose a trusted person to serve as his/her agent (attorney-in-fact or POA).
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Actually, it is not a diagnosis that prevents a person from signing a POA. It is inability to understand the concept of allowing someone else to make decisions for you.

My husband signed POA papers after being diagnosed with dementia. He demonstrated to the lawyer that he understood what he was signing. He thought our house with a railroad station, but he did understand what he was signing. That is key, not a diagnosis.

Having a health crisis is not the same thing as being incompetent. Guardianship will only be available in the person is legally declared incompetent.
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If both of them are showing signs of dementia, the son can and should pursue a Guardianship with the help of a lawyer. Jeannegibbs is right, if mom has a diagnosis already, she cannot sign the POA papers.
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There is no "automatic" POA. Mother's POA is any adult Mother designates. She may select her husband as primary and her son as back-up in case husband is incapacitated, for example. She may select her lawyer. Or her minister. Or her niece. It is totally up to her. This assumes that Mother is still competent to issue a POA. If she is not, then there is no POA.
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