If you have an elderly loved one, you’re probably worried about them and their future, especially if their health is declining. You might be concerned about how their financial affairs will be handled, how their medical decisions will be made and how they’ll get by in their day-to-day life. The uncertainty can be stressful, but you don’t have to let it be.
Instead, you can consider seeking out a guardianship over your elderly loved one, whether it be your parent, an uncle or aunt, grandmother or grandfather or a family friend. But if you’re uncertain about whether you should seek guardianship, you might want to consider whether any of the following circumstances exist:
- Your loved one’s mental health has declined to the point that they are incompetent or incapacitated: If your loved one is suffering from mental declines, such as when dealing with Alzheimer’s, it can be difficult for them to make decisions that are in their best interests. Here, you can assess how much your loved one can handle their own affairs and consider whether you should seek full guardianship or one that is limited in nature.
- Your loved one’s physical capabilities have diminished: This may be because of physical decline, or it might be due to a disability. Although your loved one might be able to do some things, their condition might render it impossible to get through the day. Under these circumstances, you may want to consider seeking guardianship so that you can assist them.
- There’s a disagreement over long-term care: You and your loved one might have different ideas about what your loved one’s long-term care should look like. And, given your loved one’s condition, your loved one might not be in a position to make the right decision for them. If you want to ensure that you can get your loved one into the facility that you’ve identified for them, you may have to seek guardianship.
- You need to make medical decisions: If your loved one cannot comprehend available medical options, they will not be able to consent to that treatment. Therefore, you might have to seek guardianship if you want your loved one to get needed medical attention.
- Decision-making is compromised: Your loved one must make competent decisions in all aspects of their life. If they struggle in some respects, their well-being might be jeopardized. If you’re in that situation, you might want to think about seeking guardianship so that you can assist them in making those decisions that are best for them.
There may be other characteristics that warrant seeking guardianship. What’s important is that you realize that your loved one has to be incapacitated in some fashion for you to be appointed guardian.
Navigating your guardianship petition
Many legal nuances and emotions are involved in pursuing a guardianship petition. The matter may end up being more contentious than you expect. That’s why it’s best to discuss your situation with an attorney before you move forward with your case. Hopefully, you can gather the evidence you need to support your legal position and ensure the best outcome for your loved one.
If you’d like to learn more about what an attorney can do to help you in these matters, now may be the time to reach out to a legal team that you think is a good fit for you and your family.