Elderly guardianship. What is it and why do you need it?

When your parents or grandparents are in solid health, the last thing on your mind is the possibility of elderly guardianship. Unfortunately, the truth is, as individuals get older, it is likely their health will fail and they may no longer be able to make decisions for themselves. 

That is why in this blog post, to help you understand what you need to do in these difficult situations, we will delve into the topic of elderly guardianship. We hope with this information, we can clear up some confusion surrounding guardianship and show you what an incredible asset it can be to your family. 

What exactly is elderly guardianship?

Typically, elderly guardianship or elderly conservatorship refers to a legal relationship created when a court appoints a person to care for an elderly individual who can no longer take care of themselves. This guardian has specific responsibilities and duties they will be entrusted with when it comes to the elderly individual. 

Why does an individual need a guardian?

As people age, they may no longer be able to take care of themselves. Even simple tasks such as regular hygiene can become an issue as these individuals no longer have the ability or mental function to remember to handle these tasks. In these instances, it is often in the elderly individual’s best interest for a court to appoint them a guardian to ensure they are adequately cared for. 

What are the duties of a guardian?

When an individual is appointed as guardian, they will have a duty of care towards that elderly individual. This means that the guardian must put the older adult’s interests first.

Generally, a guardian’s responsibilities include:

  • Determining where the elderly individual will need to live
  • Figuring out the best ways to keep the elderly individual healthy
  • Deciding how to prepare a budget for the elderly individual to make sure their finances are well-maintained
  • Finding ways for the elderly individual to enjoy activities and be able to have social contact

How to set up a guardianship?

Usually, an elderly guardianship requires the filing of a guardian petition with the court, followed by a court hearing in front of a judge. This hearing will determine whether the elderly individual needs this guardianship. When preparing these legal documents, individuals have to clearly indicate the elderly person’s mental and physical condition and show how they are no longer able to make critical life decisions.

In addition, family members must be notified of this guardianship and provided a chance to file their own legal papers to support or contest this guardianship. Due to these legal complexities, it is often in the family’s best interest to work with an experienced family law attorney that can help ensure this process is completed correctly.

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