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FAQs about establishing guardianship for an elderly parent

As your parent grows older, he or she may have difficulty making his or her own decisions about finances, medical treatment and life in general. If your mother or father is no longer able to make decisions or adequately care for her or himself, you might want to consider establishing guardianship.

Becoming the guardian for your elderly parent may sound intimidating. You probably have a lot of questions about this process. Here are answers to questions you may have about becoming the legal guardian of your parent who cannot make his or her own decisions.

Why would my parent need a guardian?

Unfortunately, your parent may eventually become incapable of making important decisions. Your parent may have difficulty managing finances, taking necessary medications or maintaining regular hygiene.

What would my responsibilities be?

A guardian is responsible for the elderly person. According to Aging Care, your guardianship duties might include:

  • Deciding where your parent will live
  • Providing consent for medical care
  • Handling finances and investing assets
  • Paying bills
  • Managing personal property
  • Making decisions for end-of-life care

Depending on the extent of your parent’s incapacity, you should maximize his or her independence and seek his or her input whenever possible. You would only perform duties authorized by the court.

What are the alternatives to guardianships?

It is possible that guardianship is not the best option for you and your parent at this time. For example, your parent could designate you as the trustee of a living trust to manage his or her assets. Your parent could also designate you as a power of attorney to make important financial or medical decisions. These are important options to consider if your parent still has the mental capacity to willingly assign you these responsibilities.

It can be difficult to come to terms with the fact that your parent is no longer able to make important decisions. You should consider all of these options to ensure your parent has the care he or she needs.