Becoming a Guardian for an Elderly Parent: 7 Things to Know

Elderly guardianship is a legal process in which a court appoints a capable individual to care for older parents who cannot care for themselves. The guardian has a legal obligation to care for everything for older adults.

As you know, elderly people can’t care for themselves due to illness, injury, or aging. They lose their decision-making power, so they need a competent elder law lawyer who can guide them in this jeopardy because he or she has deep knowledge and extensive experience handling issues such as wills and trusts.

If an older adult doesn’t want any guardian, they should consult elder law lawyers who can help them with severe medical issues.

In the following blog, we will discuss things you should consider before becoming the guardian of an elderly parent. Let’s start with a better understanding.

●     Get Doctor Letter

Whether your parents can’t make a decision or are facing medical issues, it is the right time to become a guardian for an elderly parent. For this purpose, you need to obtain a doctor’s letter in which he or she declares the disability or incapability of the parent.

Sometimes, parents are unwilling to meet with doctors, especially when facing mental issues. In this case, you have to consult the court. The court appoints a neutral medical board that determines your parents’ health and decides whether they need guardianship. After reports of a medical exam, the court permits you to obtain a doctor’s letter, and you can proceed with the further process of guardianship.

●     File Application for Guardianship

After obtaining a doctor’s letter, you must apply for guardianship in probate court. The court examines the following things before making any decision:

  • Check legal disability standards
  • Review application
  • Analyze statements
  • Analyze medical reports
  • Determines whether to grant the petition 

Besides that, the court also checks your current status and whether you can provide ample care to your parents. The probate court considers the following things on your side:

  • Criminal record
  • Lifestyle
  • Background history
  • Financial health
  • Analyze your interest

Suppose you’re capable of becoming a guardian, court orders in your favor, and handing over custody of parents. But there is no finish yet. If you do negligence, you have to face legal action. If you’re thinking about how to avoid a lawsuit, you need to hire a professional attorney for elder law.

●     Inform Relative About Guardianship

You must inform relatives or family members about the guardianship petition. If you don’t do this, you have to face the consequences.

Sometimes, you don’t have any living family members; in that case, you have to contact close relatives or friends of those parents. In this scenario, a will estate attorney can help you because family members are considered out of the estate code you have to notify, and they know how to manage them.

●     Attorney Ad Litem

If you file for guardianship, the court appoints an attorney to represent your elderly parents. The attorney Ad Litem sole purpose is to know your parents’ wishes. They can express the best things according to the demand of their parents before the court.

●     Guardian Ad Litem

If the court understands more investigation is required, it appoints a guardian Ad Litem who acts like a court. Guardian Ad Litem tries to find the hidden wants and demands of elderly persons and make recommendations in the ward’s best interest.

You can say that guardian Ad Litem cares more than attorney Ad Litem. They are always in quest of finding the things that can make your life happier and more peaceful in the future.

●     What Is Alternatives to Guardianship

Guardianship is the last solution for elderly adults who can’t care for themselves. Many reasons can create hurdles in obtaining guardianship. Sometimes, a person who wants guardianship has been treating parents badly in the past, or some parents are unwilling to get any guardians. In such cases, elderly parents have the following options from which they can get benefits:

1.    Living Trust

In a living trust, elderly persons nominate someone to manage financial affairs. But as a parent, what should you do in this case? First, you should ask yourself, is it legally binding? The answer is yes. It is a legal process, and you must get the help of wills and trust lawyers. 

2.    Representative of Income

As you age, you get some income as a benefit from the government, but you can’t manage this income. So, you have the right to appoint a person to manage this income on your behalf. But you should designate a faithful person.

3.    Power of Attorney

In the case of power of attorney, elderly persons give power to another person who can legally act on their behalf regarding specified affairs according to the laws and regulations. If that person doesn’t remain straight to the person who gives power of attorney, he or she has to face legal action.

4.    Health Directives

A health directive is also known as a living will in which elderly persons designate a person who will provide medical treatment when they have been experiencing health issues and are unable to express their situations. If a designated person does negligence in medical treatment, he or she will face elder care distress lawsuits.

All the alternatives mentioned above are directly related to the consent and willingness of an elderly person. But if an older person faces mental health issues, he or she can’t choose those alternatives legally.

●     Hire Professional Attorney

If you want to know the details of the guardianship process, you better hire professional elder law lawyers who have a deep understanding of elder laws. They can clearly understand your situation because they have repeatedly dealt with the same situations.

Besides that, guardianship is a complex legal process, and if you make any mistake in any step, it will create a huge mess in your life, and you can face legal action.

Conclusion

To sum up, if you want to become a guardian of an elderly parent, this guide will help you and give you the right direction to obtain guardianship. But you better hire professional guardianship lawyers to avoid any frustration.

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