When is it the Right Time to Set Up a Conservatorship for My Elderly Parents?

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There comes a time when roles are reversed, and you find yourself taking care of your parents and giving them daily assistance like they used to give you. They may become absentminded and forget to take their medications or pay their bills or have a harder time taking care of the house or ofthemselves.

When it becomes apparent that they no longer have the mental and/or physical abilities to make their own decisions regarding their well-being and finances, children may start considering whether a guardianship and conservatorship might be necessary. Even the best laid-out estate plans may not be able to help you avoid this step altogether.

What If My Parent Refuses To Sign A Power of Attorney?

A common scenario is when one or both parents refuse to sign a power of attorney or any estate planning documents, in spite of having been diagnosed with early dementia by a doctor. You may be able to petition for a conservatorship when the parent shows obvious signs of incapacity to make sound decisions and refuses to sign things, like checks to pay for their bills, or worse, seems to sign anything without questioning you.

Likewise, even if you have a signed power of attorney, it may not be enough to allow you to make decisions, such as sending a parent to a nursing home when the parent disagrees, and when he or she requires medical treatment and cannot or will not consent to it because he or she is unable to comprehend it. A guardianship may also be required if you need to sell any real estate or investments in your mother’s or father’s name.

Does A Conservatorship Allow Me To Make Decisions For My Parents?

A full guardianship and conservatorship allow you to make important decisions for your parents both in terms of personal care, health, and well-being (such as determining the type of medical care a parent will receive and where he or she will live, like in a nursing home), as well as financial decisions, such as selling or transferring real estate. A guardian is also responsible for day-to-day activities,like paying bills and writing checks. Guardians have to report to the court that awarded the guardianship to receive approval for major decisions, such as the sale of a home in the parents’ names.

What Is A Partial Or Limited Guardianship?

In some instances, a court may be inclined to award partial or limited guardianship when a parent shows they can still make some decisions but need help in other areas. A limited guardianship would assign decision-making powers to only certain aspects of a parent’s life. Many courts prefer this over full guardianships, but each state has different laws that may affect your particular case. At Crow Estate Planning and Probate, PLC, our Clarksville estate planning attorneys have dealt with many cases of children wanting to assist their elderly parents through guardianship and/or conservatorship, and we can provide valuable insight on your case. To see if a guardianship is right for you and your elderly parents, contact our office for an appointment. We are here to help you.

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