Guardianship is serious business and should always be a last resort. Nevertheless, if an aging parent is unable to make their own decisions or live alone; if they are making foolish decisions or doing dangerous things, guardianship is an important option to consider. It is possible for guardianship to be temporary and/or limited in its implications, just valid in the time frame necessary to remove a loved one from a threatening situation.
What is guardianship?
Guardianship is the legal authority of someone over another. The decision is made by a court; the actions of a guardian are solely for the person you designate as a guardian and does not apply to you or the assets you hold. You can have a guardian appointed if you are unable to act for yourself, if you are not the natural guardian of the person you are trying to have help you with, or if you want to appoint someone to help take care of a loved one. Guardianship may be the only way you can save someone from themselves. If you have a loved one who needs help, you may want to become a Guardian.
How do you get emergency or limited guardianship?
The first and most important point to consider is that an adult child does not need to be married to have a guardian appointed. An adult child simply needs to provide evidence of a parent's incapacitation and evidence of the home being unsafe (for example, an unpaid utility bill, an eviction notice, etc). The second most important point is to not try to take guardianship by yourself. Having another person as 'co-guardian' makes life much easier. The person for whom you are seeking guardianship will try to tell you what to do and you need to stand your ground. When your loved one is resisting and fighting back, it makes it a lot easier to stay calm and present if you have another person to support your decisions.
What are the benefits of guardianship?
Guardianship allows an older person the ability to make their own decisions with the help of their friends, relatives, or loved ones. It allows parents the freedom to live on their own terms instead of under the care of strangers or people they don't know. • If parents are not able to care for themselves for any reason, guardianship allows an older person to stay in their own home, under the supervision of guardians (people chosen by the parent or guardian). • Guardianship provides more freedom for older people than assisted living options; older people have the ability to live where they want to live and with whom they want to live with. Why do we need guardianship? Simply this: As we age, our ability to make sound decisions diminishes.
What are the drawbacks of guardianship?
One downside of guardianship is that it often is a formal process and expensive. However, all parties involved should ensure that this is only done after careful consideration, research, and consultation with a qualified and professional attorney or estate planning attorney. If someone cannot afford to get guardianship, they should at least consider other options such as palliative care or hospice care instead. Another drawback of guardianship is that there is often an assumption that guardians are family members. In reality, many forms of guardianship are available to all interested parties such as mental health professionals, employment organizations, associations, churches, or others who are willing to step in and fill the role of a guardian for the owner of the property.
When a family member or close friend has a problem with an aging parent's behavior, it is often a much bigger problem than is initially recognized. As a result, a person who is aging, is moving in the wrong direction and needs to be proactively addressed.
In the first step to getting help, people should get all their loved one's medical records and consult a physician about all of their health problems. For further help, a person should consider hiring an attorney to help manage the elder's assets. After that, a person needs to begin researching elder law and making it known to their loved one, so that the process can be started, evaluated and implemented.
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