When There Is No POA

If your care recipient doesn’t have a POA, their healthcare provider may ask some-one else to make decisions based on state law. It may be someone your care recipient doesn’t want to make decisions for them. It may also be someone who doesn’t know what their wishes are.

Caregiver helping elderly woman


Your care recipient will still receive healthcare, but it may not be the way that they,
or you, want it to happen. For example, there have been cases when someone has been separated from their partner, but not legally divorced, and a healthcare professional still has to ask their ex-partner to make decisions.

Situations like this can be prevented by having your care recipient name their power
of attorney.


If there is no financial power of attorney, there may be some other ways for you to assist your care recipient with finances. For example, if you have a joint bank account.

If there is no other way for you to assist your care recipient, there may be a court process to appoint a guardian for your care recipient. Your family and your care recipient do not have a say in who the court appoints as a guardian. Once your care recipient has a guardian, many of their decision-making rights are taken away.

Additional Resources

  • Two people and a dog riding in a car

    Quick Explanation of Power of Attorney (POA)

  • Man looking at tablet

    Future Planning & IDD

  • Writing on paper

    Finances For End Of Life

  • Two elderly men talking

    Family Arguments About POA