When is it time to become a guardian of an aging parent?

by | May 1, 2020 | Elder Law, Long-Term Care Planning |

It’s an incredibly challenging transition to go from dealing with your parent as their child and peer to having to take on a role of authority with them. Some people refer to this period as having to become a parent to your parent, and the analogy is not far off. Many people going through this transitional period may find that there is quite a bit of resistance from a parent who is beginning to show signs of dementia or cognitive decline in their old age.

Doing what’s best for your loved one

A person with dementia may not be an immediate hazard to themselves and others in the house. Their first slip-ups could involve missed rent payments, utility bills and medication schedules. This series of poor decision-making could create financial issues for them and create instability in their living conditions. More pressing issues for intervention involve physical hazards, like forgetting the stove was left on. If you’re thinking that you need to start taking control of your loved one’s life, here is what you need to know:

  • Petitioning the court: If your loved one is incapacitated or unwilling to sign over power of attorney to you or a family member, you will most likely have to petition a court to declare your loved one ‘legally incompetent.’
  • Providing evidence: You will need to provide evidence that your loved one is unable to care for themselves. This step is important, not only to protect that person’s rights but also to prevent the potential for abuse. You will also have to provide documentation to the court and argue for why you are the best person to oversee your loved one’s interests.
  • Representation: Your relative has the right to hire legal representation during this process to argue against guardianship.

Supporting a better life for your parent

This transition for your relative is always going to be a difficult one. Even if they don’t recognize it right away, taking charge of your relative’s financial and legal obligations as well as finding the best medical treatment and living situation for their circumstances can drastically improve their security and well-being. If you’re thinking of becoming a guardian for your loved on, contact an attorney experienced in estate planning and guardianship.