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Should I Seek Guardianship for My Senior Parent?

guardianship for a senior parent
Take these steps when seeking guardianship for a senior parent.

In an ideal world, our family relationships would all be helpful and positive. We would manage transitional times smoothly, cooperatively, and without any disagreement. As our parents grew older, it would be a simple process to fulfill their needs today and their changing future needs.
The reality, however, is that being an adult child to older adults can be tumultuous. It is challenging to discern when you should step up and help, and when to take a step back in order to not step on your parents’ toes. And, there may be instances when your efforts to help are met with opposition – even though you know that help is needed for their safety and protection.

A beneficial first step is to ensure the senior has designated both a medical power of attorney and power of attorney. The individual or individuals 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 incapable of doing so.

However, even if you are the designated power of attorney/medical power of attorney for an older parent, you might want to consider going a step further and petitioning for guardianship of a senior parent.

This might be worth exploring if:

  • The senior’s home or any other property needs to be sold
  • Medical intervention is necessary
  • Dementia or any other cognitive function limitations are affecting the person’s decision-making ability

There is also the possibility for limited guardianship, in the event that the older adult is capable of retaining control in certain areas of life, while other areas are compromised.

How to Apply for Guardianship

  • First, schedule an appointment with the senior’s doctor, who will need to determine whether guardianship is needed and complete a form attesting to the older adult’s mental and physical 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 older adult and family members (as outlined within the estate code) of your intent to acquire guardianship.
  • Lastly, the court will designate a lawyer to represent the senior, and a decision will be made to determine what is in his/her best interest.

At Home Sweet Home In-Home Care, a provider of customized home health care in Battle Creek, MI & surrounding communities, we are here to help ensure all the needs of your aging parents are met. Contact us at (866) 229-2505 to find out more.

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