In a perfect world, our family interactions would all be helpful and positive. We would handle transitional times cooperatively, smoothly, and without any disagreement. As our parents grew older, it would be a seamless process to meet their needs today and as they change in the future.
The reality, however, is that being an adult child to aging parents can be tumultuous. It’s not easy to discern when to step in and help, and when to step back so as not to step on your parents’ toes. And, there may be times when your efforts to help are met with resistance – even though you know that help is needed for their safety and protection.
A good first step is to ensure the senior parent has designated both a power of attorney and medical power of attorney. The person or persons entrusted with these roles will have the authority to make financial and health-related decisions on behalf of the senior if he or she were to become unable to do so.
However, even if you are the designated power of attorney/medical power of attorney for a senior parent, you may want to consider going a step further and petitioning for guardianship. This is worth exploring if:
- The senior’s home or other property needs to be sold
- Medical intervention is necessary
- Dementia or other cognitive function limitations are impacting the person’s decision-making ability
There is also the option for limited guardianship, if the senior is capable of maintaining control in some aspects of life, while other areas are compromised.
How to File for Guardianship
- First, schedule an appointment with the senior’s doctor, who will need to determine if guardianship is necessary and complete a form attesting to the senior’s physical and mental functioning.
- You can then file for guardianship at a probate court. The court will run a criminal background check, assess your financial responsibilities, and investigate whether there are any conflicts of interest.
- You are then legally bound to notify both the senior and family members (as outlined in the estate code) of your intent to obtain guardianship.
- Finally, the court will appoint an attorney to represent the senior, and a decision will be made to determine what is in his/her best interest.
At Generations at Home, we’re here to help ensure all of the needs of your aging parents are met. Contact us to find out more.