How do you know if guardianship may be needed by your aging parents?

| Mar 29, 2021 | Guardianships | 0 comments

You want to help support your aging parents while they enjoy their golden years in Pennsylvania. Lately, you wonder whether supporting them means helping them with or taking over certain tasks for them.

Forbes describes scenarios that may indicate your aging parents need someone to protect their interests. Determine if you may need to seek guardianship for them.

Your parents refuse to sign a power of attorney.

Despite a recent diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or dementia, your mother or father may reject signing a power of attorney (POA) because they think that they are still capable. Remember that signing a POA does not take away their authority to handle their own affairs.  It simply allows you to help them if necessary. If your loved one’s mental faculties continue to deteriorate and no POA has been signed, you may have no choice but to seek guardianship.

You must sell real estate or investments.

Even with a signed power of attorney, your parents may need guardianship if the POA is old or outdated or fails to contain the appropriate language to authorize the agent to sell real estate.

You butt heads over a move to personal care home or nursing home.

There may come a time when your parents cannot take proper care of themselves or when you cannot provide care for them on your own.  They may need to move into a personal care home or a nursing home. If your parents refuse, you may need to seek guardianship as the only viable option for getting the necessary help with daily tasks rather than waiting for a crisis to occur.

Your parents’ health care proxy is insufficient. 

Much like a financial power of attorney, a health care POA may not account for every scenario. If your parent becomes incapacitated and cannot consent to receive health care, guardianship may present the only option for him or her to get the care needed.

Talk to your parents about powers of attorney and review older documents.  It is best to avoid guardianship because it is more intrusive, costly and time consuming. You and your parents all deserve to know the legal options and how to exercise them.

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Carol Sikov Gross is a member
of the National Academy of
Elder Law Attorneys

NAELA | National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, Inc.

ACTEC | The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel
PA | ELA Pennsylvania Association of Elderly Law Attorneys | Member
Pennsylvania Bar Association Your Other Partner
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