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When to Establish Guardianship for an Older Parent


Many people who are seeking to establish guardianship for an older parent have already started caring for an older parent. They may take them to doctors’ appointments, pick up their mail, pay their bills, and cook their meals. If you have started taking on these tasks, there is only so much you can legally do for your loved one unless you have the proper authority. Below, our Dade City elder law attorney outlines four times when you may have to establish guardianship for your parent.

Their Health and Well-Being are at Risk 

Guardianship can be beneficial if your parent suffers from a medical condition such as cancer, dementia, or organ failure. They may not realize that they do not have the mental capacity to make important health care decisions on their own.

If your family does not get along and your parent has not appointed a health care surrogate, it is particularly important that you establish guardianship. When an elder has not appointed a health care surrogate, the family is generally appointed as the individual’s health care proxy. This is often not practical, though, if the family does not get along and people have differing opinions about the type of care your parent needs.

Your Parent’s Life Savings are at Risk 

The elderly population is often targeted by scammers, the people who care for them, and even family members who want to profit from an elder’s vulnerable position. If you have noticed unusual transactions in your parent’s financial accounts, or you have reason to believe someone is trying to gain access to them, it may be time to establish guardianship.

A Lack of Planning

 Establishing guardianship is not always necessary. For example, when a person has drafted a durable power of attorney, this document will stipulate how their affairs are to be handled in case the elder becomes incapacitated. If your parent did not include certain tools in their estate plan, establishing guardianship may be necessary.

Your Parent Needs to Apply for Government Benefits 

Without an income, many seniors often have to apply for certain government benefits. For example, your parent may need Medicaid benefits to pay for care in a nursing home, particularly if they do not have a lot in retirement savings. If your parent is incapacitated, they may not recognize the need for benefits, or they may not understand how to apply. Establishing guardianship will allow you to apply for these benefits on your parent’s behalf so their life savings are not depleted.

Our Elder Law Attorney in Dade City Can Help You Establish Guardianship 

Caring for an elderly parent who can no longer care for themselves is challenging, particularly if you do not have the legal authority to take on certain tasks for them. At The Law Office of Laurie R. Chane, our Dade City elder law attorney can ensure you meet the requirements, help you navigate the process, and give you the best chance of a favorable outcome that will help your entire family. Call us now at 352-567-0055 to request a consultation and to learn more.



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