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When does it become necessary to seek a guardianship?

For most adults, it is difficult to watch your parents age and become unable to care for themselves. Sadly, due to age or illness, it happens.

If your parent is no longer able to provide self care or make important decisions (on medical treatment or regarding finances) you may be need to seek a guardianship. This process gives you the legal power to take care of the things that he or she is no longer capable of managing.

When to seek a guardianship

If a parent is no longer able to think clearly or make rational decisions regarding finances, health care or any other aspect of his or her life, it may be time to consider seeking a guardianship. Of course, the granting of control over another person's well-being will only be awarded in certain circumstances. If your parent has advanced directives or a power of attorney in place, a request for a guardianship, also known as a conservatorship, will most likely not receive approval.

Steps to seeking guardianship

If you wish to act as your parent's legal guardian, it will be necessary to have him or her declared incompetent. This is something that requires a full evaluation by medical and behavioral specialists.

If, after the completion of the evaluation, your parent meets all the necessary incompetency requirements, you may then file a petition in court in order to seek guardianship.

If granted guardianship, what will my role be?

If you are awarded guardianship over your parent, there will be many things for which you will be responsible. A few of these include:

  • Making sure every day needs are adequately met
  • Advocating for legal rights
  • Making medical care and financial decisions
  • Keeping financial records

Your parent's current limitations will determine how big your role as guardian will be.

Restrictions on power

Being a conservator will not give you the power to do whatever you please. There are certain limitations that will be set and documented in your letter of appointment.

Court approval will be necessary to handle situations that are beyond your scope of power.

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