Should I Seek Guardianship of a Parent?

Adult son helping senior mother with paperwork
How do you know if it’s time to think about guardianship of a parent?

In a perfect world, our family relationships would all be helpful and positive. We would manage transitional times cooperatively, smoothly, and without any disagreement. As our parents grew older, it would be a simple process to meet their needs today and their changing future needs.

The truth, however, is that being an adult child to older adults can be tumultuous. It’s quite difficult to identify when you should step up and assist and when to step back in order to not step on your parents’ toes. And, there might be times when your efforts to help are met with opposition – while you understand that help will become necessary for their protection and safety.

A beneficial initial step is to ensure the older adult has selected both a power of attorney and medical power of attorney. The individual or individuals entrusted with these roles will have the authority to make financial and health-related decisions on behalf of the senior if he or she were to become unable to do so.

However, even if you are the designated power of attorney/medical power of attorney for an older parent, you might want to consider going one step further and petitioning for guardianship. Guardianship of a parent is worth exploring if:

  • The older adult’s home or other property needs to be sold
  • Medical intervention is necessary
  • Dementia or other cognitive function limitations are impacting the person’s decision-making ability

Additionally, there is the possibility for limited guardianship, in the event that the older adult is capable of maintaining control in certain areas of life, while other areas are compromised.

How to File for Guardianship of a Parent

  • First, schedule an appointment with the senior’s health care professional, who will need to determine if guardianship is needed and complete a form attesting to the older adult’s mental and physical functioning.
  • You can then file for guardianship at a probate court. The court will run a criminal background check, assess your monetary responsibilities, and investigate whether there are any conflicts of interest.
  • You are then legally bound to inform both the senior and family members (as specified within the estate code) of your intent to acquire guardianship.
  • Lastly, the court will designate an attorney to represent the senior, and a determination will be made to decide what is in his/her best interest.

At JFS Care, we are here to help ensure all the needs of your aging parents are met. Reach out to us at (213) 383-2273 for more information about our home care services in Encino. Visit our Service Area page to see all of the communities where we provide care.