Does it seem like guardianship has become a necessity for your elderly parents? There are several situations in which guardianship is necessary to protect the rights and needs of senior citizens who fall under the category of a person unable to manage their own affairs: those who are vulnerable to exploitation because of a lack of mental acuity; those who lack of access to finances; those with a need for the creation of or the amendment to a trust; or those who refuse to receive necessary medical care.
Guardianship is defined as the right for one person to make decisions for another, even if that person does not like these decisions. It is a serious undertaking because it significantly impacts a person’s rights. However, it can be powerfully protective if the incapacitated person does not know that they are incapacitated. The ward is the person who is being protected by the guardianship and the “appointee” is the person who has become responsible for the ward. Guardianship may be necessary if legal documents such as trusts or a durable power of attorney were not put into place before a person becomes incapacitated, or if the ward tries to make decisions for him or herself that would be damaging or potentially damaging.
When your mom or dad begins to lose their cognitive abilities, it can be very stressful for them and for you as their child. Your parents have always been there to take care of you – physically as a child and emotionally as an adult. It is difficult to think of them being completely dependent on you or anyone else.
Unfortunately, these things do happen and when it is apparent to you that your parents are unable to care for themselves, guardianship should be considered, as it is an option that can help protect your parents. It may be just what they need you to do for them. Making the decision to pursue guardianship is one that is not to be taken lightly. It should be made with as much input as possible from those close to your parents, their doctors or social workers, and those closest to you. Discuss the benefits and drawbacks of guardianship with all the aforementioned people and consider talking to an attorney as well. Be informed. When and if you feel that guardianship is an undertaking that you are capable of that would benefit your parents, the process is actually quite simple.
You or your attorney can get the forms from the court or from a social worker. Once they are filled out, they will be filed through the local Probate Court for a small filing fee. A hearing will be scheduled when the papers have been filed.
Although it can be stressful to make a decision like this, when guardianship has been established, your parents care will be safe in your hands.