When a senior loved one loses the ability to make rational decisions that protect their own safety and finances, a guardianship may be the next necessary step. What can a family member do when a parent should stop driving but refuses? What if your loved one is eating irregularly and is losing weight but refuses to accept help? Is your parent’s home cluttered and in disarray presenting concerns for fall risks, sanitation, and cleanliness?
A guardianship has a legal duty to act in the best interest of the person they are appointed to serve. Sadly, it takes away your loved ones legal rights, but it might be the only way to make the necessary decisions that your loved one can no longer make. Guardianship is an option when your elderly parent does not have a power of attorney or advanced directive in place.
The process for acting as someone’s legal guardian is handled by going to court to have your loved one declared incompetent based on expert findings. In guardianship rulings, a court declares a person incompetent and appoints a guardian. The court then transfers the responsibility for managing finances, where your loved one will live, as well as health care and medical decisions to the guardian.
The process can be lengthily especially if family members disagree about the need and who should act as the guardian. It can end up being a long, painful and costly process which includes court, doctor and legal fees.
Some of the responsibilities that may be required of the guardian are:
Decide on the living location and living arrangements
Monitor your loved ones residence
Consent for medical treatments and services
Decide who will manage the finances
Release confidential information
Maintain expense records
Make end-of-life decisions
Annually report to the court the guardianship status
Often guardianship can be avoided through estate planning while your parent is healthy and competent. By appointing personal representatives through durable powers of attorney, health care proxies and trusts, and individual can choose who will make decisions for them before they are no longer capable of doing so.
If the challenges of family and career are making life overwhelming and difficult to care for a loved one in need of assistance, we can help. Today’s families have very busy lifestyles so many times family members want to help and in many cases try to help but generally it is only a matter of time before it all becomes overwhelming trying to juggle too many tasks at one time. For most just knowing that companies like ours are here when you need support and an extra set of caring hands make the process less stressful and smooth.
Should a loved one need help, call us today 770-442-8664!
Easy Living Services, Inc.
Providing Home Care to Atlanta families since 1994