How to Obtain a Power of Attorney for a Mentally Ill Person

Updated February 21, 2017

The mentally ill are often convinced that there is nothing wrong and they do not need to seek help. It can be a problem for family members dealing with the mentally ill individual because they can sometimes react violently, can refuse help and can avoid giving power of attorney through their own will. There are ways to obtain power of attorney for the mentally ill, though each state will vary slightly in the process.

Ask the mentally ill individual to sign over power of attorney. Anyone that is given power of attorney will not need to worry about other ways to obtain it. There is paperwork involved, which can be obtained through state courts or a lawyer. The mentally ill individual can also write up a will with a lawyer stating that power of attorney rests with an individual. This is the best option, especially for those mentally ill individuals who are aware of the illness. Convincing the individual to sign over power of attorney is the easiest way to obtain power of attorney over the mentally ill.

Establish that the individual has a mental illness with a doctor. The doctor needs to determine that there is a mental illness, which mental illness is present and the severity of the mental illness. The appropriate doctor to establish mental illness is a psychiatrist. A second opinion from a psychologist can help as well.

Establish that the mentally ill individual is incapable of taking care of his needs financially and physically. A doctor needs to show that the severity of the illness is enough for the state to step in.

Take the case to court using a lawyer with experience in this area. Once it has been medically shown that the individual is too ill to take care of finances and physical health decisions, the lawyer will present the case. The state judge will then decide to grant or refuse power of attorney.


Any time a mentally ill individual becomes violent, the police should be called, charges pressed against them and a mental evaluation should be done. The mentally ill do not always know they are being violent and this can be the only way to establish that the individual has a mental illness if they are not cooperative.

Things You'll Need

  • Lawyer
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About the Author

Helen Jain has been writing online articles since December 2009 for various websites. She has studied English and psychology and hopes to get a Ph.D. in English in the future.