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Hi Lonewolf
A POA is something your mother chooses. It’s not ‘over’ a person but ‘for’ a person to act for them when they no longer can or they ask you to. The principal, your mother, chooses an agent, possibly you.
She would have to sign the appropriate document in front of a notary. This document can be for finances or for medical decisions or both. She must be competent to make this decision. She can change her mind and appoint another if she chooses whenever she chooses.
It’s a risk she takes when she chooses her agent and it’s a terrific responsibility to be an agent for another.
As Glad mentioned, if your mom isn’t able to make her own decisions for whatever reason then ‘someone’ has to. The government will appoint a guardian if her circumstance becomes dire and she doesn’t have a family member to make decisions. Of course, most people do not have a POA.
It does make life easier for those morally responsible for another. Make sure to suggest she have an alternate in case the first agent can no longer serve.
Also know that not all POA docs are the same. A certified elder attorney can guide your mom to an appropriate POA document for her circumstance.
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Reply to 97yroldmom
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You tell her that if there is an emergency and she needs someone to act in her behalf, if she does not have a POA assigned the state will do it. Who does she want making decisions on her care if she is not able to? The State or a family member, sounds like an easy choice to me.

If she will not assign a POA, you will have to seek guardianship, a court process.
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