Guardianship can ensure your parent’s welfare and safety

On behalf of Andrew Randisi

A guardianship can be specifically tailored to meet your parents needs.

As an adult child of an aging parent it can be very difficult to realize that your parent can no longer care for him or herself properly or make decisions about finances and self-care that need to be made in daily life. At a certain point, safety and wellbeing become a concern and an elderly parent may no longer be able to make the meaningful decisions that they once were. It may be beneficial to set up a guardianship for your parent to ensure personal care needs are being met and that he or she is not being taken advantage of financially or making detrimental decisions about finances.

In New York, the court may appointment an adult child as the guardian of his or her parent due to incapacity. This may mean mental incapacity or physical. Typically, a court appointed guardian for an aging parent would be an Article 81 guardianship under the state’s Mental Health Law (MHL). The New York MHL is intended to provide flexibility to the duties and responsibilities of a guardian depending on the needs of the aging individual (or ward). The guardian is able to make certain decisions when the ward is unable while preserving as much independence as possible. This means that the guardian’s powers may be specifically tailored by the court to meet the needs of the incapacitated parent. However, if the court finds that incapacity is global, the guardian’s powers will reflect that finding.

How to appoint a guardian

Anyone can petition the court for a guardianship. Once the court is petitioned, a hearing will take place. There will be a court appointed evaluator who will investigate the circumstances to determine if the alleged incapacitated person (AIP) is in need of a guardian, for what reasons and who the appropriate guardian should be. The aging adult will have an attorney present at the hearing if he or she objects to the guardianship. At the hearing, the court will consider the facts and hear from all the interested parties including the evaluator, the petitioner (person seeking the guardianship) and the AIP’s attorney (if applicable). If the court grants the guardianship petition, the newly appointed guardian’s specific powers and duties (personal care/financial) will also be granted by court order, which will be dependent on the circumstances and specific needs of the incapacitated individual (aging parent).

Reasons to appoint a guardian

A guardian can be granted the power to make financial or personal care decisions on behalf of his or her ward (aging parent) depending on what type of help is needed. Some examples of reasons when a guardian may be needed include, when a parent:

  • Does not take medicine correctly (at the right time or dosage)
  • Is not eating properly, or not receiving the proper nutrition
  • Does not have sufficient mobility (risk of falling and injury)
  • Is unable to sustain him or herself financially (including inappropriate purchases, failing to pay bills, falling victim to money scams)

When safety and wellbeing become a concern and an elderly parent can no longer make the decisions that they once were or provide personal care, a guardianship may be beneficial. It may be difficult to face that your parent needs help and equally difficult for your parent to accept that they can’t do the things they used to do. However, setting up a guardianship is the best way to ensure personal care and financial needs are being met and your parent’s future is provided for, safe and secure.

If you are worried that your parent is being taken advantage of financially or can no longer care for him or herself, you may want to consider a guardianship. Contact Weinstein Randisi to learn more about the process and if a guardianship would be the best way to ensure your parent’s needs are being met. Call 585-310-1578 for a free initial consultation. We can discuss your parents situation, answer any questions you may have and help your pursue your guardianship petition.