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My father has tried to obtain power of attorney and failed. My mum is very ill and needs mental health care and is to ill to sign.

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If your mom does not have the capacity to understand and sign a Power of Attorney document, you can ask the Probate Court in her state to appoint a Conservator to manage her assets and business transactions. The petition to appoint a Conservator can request the you, your father, a member of your family, or some other competent person or organization be given the authority to speak and act for your mother.

Does your mother have a Health Care Proxy? If not, you can petition the Court to appoint a Guardian who will have the authority to make health care decisions. Talk with an Elder Law Attorney in your state to learn the best approach to managing the circumstances.

An excellent Agingcare.com article explains: When Is a Person Too Incapacitated to Sign a Will, Trust, or POA?
https://www.agingcare.com/articles/elder-cant-sign-will-trust-power-of-attorney-153521.htm
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He won't be able to get a POA if your mother is not competent to assign it. What you can do is have her doctor commit her for treatment. Would he/she be willing to do that?
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If you mother has physical difficulty signing, she can make an "X" or even a gesture with two witnesses and a notary in many states -- though it would be better to have an attorney present as well.

If you think that your mother lacks legal capacity, this must be attested to by a physician's examination and your father must go to court to seek a guardianship or, if it is available in your state, a court-created management trust or authority over all the community property. Consult an elder law attorney (www.naela.org) who is also an Approved Guardianship Attorney in the county (if your state has Approved Guardianship Attorneys).
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He will have to become her Guardian.
I had to do this and I would not recommend it unless it is absolutely necessary.
He should talk to a Lawyer that specializes in Elder Law.
The "problem" I had with becoming Guardian is that I could not write a check from his account for anything. I could write a check from my account and if it was an item "acceptable" by the court I could then reimburse myself from his account. Usually as a spouse you can make decisions for the other but there are cases where medical staff are hesitant to give you information without the others written consent.
Please consult an Elder Law Attorney. Expensive but in most cases what one might call an "Evil Necessity".
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POA can be granted only by someone who is mentally competent.
He will have to make other arrangements- -guardianship, probably.
He needs to see an elder law attorney.
Advance planning before this kind of situation arises makes a difficult situation much easier. Too late for your mom, but your dad needs to assign his POA to someone he trusts before he also becomes disabled. See an elder law attorney!!!
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If there is no POA your State will probably have a protocol in place that allows next of kin to make medical decisions without it. I was able to find some info from Texas, other jurisdictions will be similar:

Who Can Consent to Medical Treatment Without a Power of Attorney?
Your spouse.
Your adult child, with the waiver and consent of all other qualified adult children.
The majority of your children.
Your parents
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My mother is beeing moved from hospital to a home with mental health care, as mum has to have 24 hour care,
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If he happens to be of sound mind and his wife can no longer be his POA, and he can't get someone to replace her, then he'll have to just start signing for himself despite his illness until he can get a replacement. Sometimes it may be just your initials or maybe even a thumbprint. Signing for yourself has become so easy these days that anyone can do it, even a blind person or someone who can't use a pen has other alternative ways of signing for themselves available to them.  

Now, if she needs a new POA and can't get one, then she'll just have to do it anyway until a new POA can be obtained.  If whatever the papers are that needs signed aren't signed by someone, then she just don't get the service. Meanwhile, you may want to look into guardianship if she needs a guardian. You may want to take this before the court and let a judge hear the matter and decide for themselves whether or not to appoint a guardian
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Can she actually physically not sign or just not mentally? my dad could still sign and knew enough to do so, just not really understanding it all, but we were able to get it done
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not that this applies to this situation, but, cwillie, have you ever heard anything that if there isn't consent among all the children the oldest one having the priority?
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