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Guardianship of a Parent – When and How to Seek One

Guardianship of a Parent – When and How to Seek One

As our parents age, our roles often reverse. Whereas they were once caring for us by ensuring we took our medicine and got to our doctor’s appointments, we end up doing the same for them. Although this role reversal is normal, sometimes the care they require becomes extreme. If your parents can no longer care for themselves, it may be time to think about establishing a guardianship.

What is a Guardianship? When Should a Guardianship Be Considered?

A guardianship is a legal relationship where a responsible adult is appointed to care for another adult who cannot care for himself or herself. According to the American Bar Association (ABA), a guardianship should be considered when:

• a person can no longer manage his or her affairs because of serious incapacity, and

• no other voluntary arrangements for decision making and management have been set up or are working, and

• serious harm will come to the individual if no legally authorized decision maker is appointed.

That said, a guardianship can be a major intrusion into one’s life. It should only be used when a person has a serious inability to make decisions or understand the consequences of their decisions. It is also important to note that foolish and risky decisions do not necessarily mean a person should be put under a guardianship. A competent person can make risky decisions. Incompetent persons, on the other hand, do not choose to make risky choices, but risks occur by happenstance.

What Are the Responsibilities of a Guardian?

A guardian is generally responsible for providing or supervising the protected person’s care. The guardian must also ensure that the protected person’s property, finances, and assets are properly preserved and managed. These duties can be limited by the court. Moreover, guardians are generally required to regularly inform the court on the status of these affairs.

How Do I Seek a Guardianship?

If your parent does require a guardianship, you can request one. The process of imposing a guardianship requires an attorney, formal paperwork, and a court hearing. There must be evidence that the individual is incapacitated as well as evidence that the proposed guardian is qualified. The incapacitated person will be given the opportunity to consent to the guardianship or contest it. The court will then consider all of the evidence before it in making a decision on whether a guardianship is appropriate.

If you are interested in establishing a guardianship for your parent or another incapacitated adult, contact McNeelyLaw today. Call us at 317-825-5110 to talk to an experienced attorney who can help navigate you through this emotional process.

This McNeelyLaw LLP publication should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinion of any specific facts or circumstances. The contents are intended for general informational purposes only, and you are urged to consult your own lawyer on any specific legal questions you may have concerning your situation.

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