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Claiming Guardianship of an Elderly Parent

Often an aging parent will lose their ability to think clearly or make informed decisions about their life. This may occur because of dementia, mental illness, stroke, brain injury, or other severe health or disability conditions. Your parent may or may not have prepared for their elder years with a durable financial and medical power of attorney. If not, a guardianship may be necessary to protect their best interests.

If your parent did not prepare for a loss of capacity and the need for legally recognized help, you will not be allowed to create these documents once they are already mentally impaired. With that moment lost, claiming the guardianship of an elderly parent is a process that requires court approval. This ensures that the protections moving forward represent the best interest of the aging adult.

When a parent does not have an estate plan with powers of attorney, they may bristle at the mere mention of requiring a guardian. Your first step is to obtain a doctor’s letter or physician’s certificate attesting to your parent’s physical abilities and mental acuities.

Suppose you meet with resistance to having your parent willingly submit to an evaluation. In that case, you may still apply for guardianship with the court. This may then compel your parent to submit to a court-ordered independent medical examination.

Learn more about when it's time to step in and file to be a legal guardian.

If you have questions or would like to consult with an attorney, give our office a call at (605) 275-5665.