If your elderly parents are facing physical or cognitive limitations, then it may be time to consider appointing a guardian. While the thought of another person taking control of all of their decisions – from finances and healthcare choices to living arrangements – can be unsettling, having someone in place looking out for your parent’s best interests can offer them and you peace of mind.
Taking some proactive steps now to appoint guardianships for your aging parents could benefit everyone down the road and help ensure their wishes are respected.
Guardianship is typically a last resort
A guardianship is a legal relationship established by the court that appoints a guardian to care for someone who is incapacitated and unable to care for themselves. Since it is restrictive, it’s important that you consider all other options before petitioning the court.
When you’re ready to take the step of setting up guardianship for your parents, you will have to take the following steps:
1. File an application with the county court
2. Attend a hearing where the judge will determine whether or not your parent needs a guardian.
3. If the judge determines that your parent needs a guardian, they will appoint someone to serve as their guardian. This could be you or someone else.
There are four different types of guardianship:
- Guardian of the person, full or limited
- Guardian of the estate, full or limited
- Guardian of the person and the estate
- Temporary guardianship
It’s important to note that once guardianship is established, it can be difficult to change or terminate it. Therefore, you will want to work with someone who can guide you through the process and ensure everything is done correctly.