There may come a time in your life when you need to take over caring for one or both of your parents. It can be difficult and emotional to switch roles with the individual who took care of you your whole life, but unfortunately, it may be necessary to ensure that your parent receives the care he or she needs in his or her elder years. However, it can be a challenge to know the appropriate time to do this. You may not recognize your parent’s incapacity to care for himself or herself, or you may be putting off the decision because it is awkward and uncomfortable. Parents who need a guardian may not be on board with the process—seeing their child take care of them can be a difficult pill to swallow. Whether or not there is tension surrounding the decision to become your parent’s legal guardian, it is important to have a firm understanding of estate planning and what the role of guardian entails.
What Are the Responsibilities of a Guardian?
There are a number of different responsibilities that can be delegated to you as a legal guardian, either temporarily or permanently. A guardian is defined as a person, agency, or institution that is designated by the court to manage the affairs of another. There are different types of guardians, each of which has specific duties. Guardianships of the person are set in place for those individuals who need assistance with their physical care. These guardians will be in charge of decisions regarding comfort, medical care, education, and health.
Guardianships of the estate designate power over an individual’s finances and property. Depending on your loved one’s mental state, you can be granted authority over all of these areas or have a “limited guardianship” arrangement that designates particular areas of responsibility.
Questions for Consideration
The purpose of a guardianship is to ensure that your loved one is taken care of when he or she cannot do so on his or her own. This can include making medical decisions, managing property, and keeping an eye on finances. A court will only grant these powers if they are necessary. It is important to note that guardianship can also be granted to an adult sibling of a minor child or a person who is incapacitated or developmentally disabled, and both of the person’s parents are deceased or incapable of caring for their child.
The following questions can help you determine if your loved one is in a position of significant need:
- Does my loved one understand that a certain decision must be made?
- Does my loved one know what the options are for this decision?
- Does my loved one understand the possible consequences of this decision?
- Is my loved one able to notify the proper parties of a decision once it has been made?
If your loved one does not have the independence and competency to complete the tasks above, he or she likely needs assistance.
Contact a Hudson Valley Area Estate Planning Lawyer
Making the decision to become someone’s guardian can be almost more difficult than the legal process itself. This undertaking can place an emotional toll on everyone involved, making the legal proceedings even more stressful. At the Law Offices of Robert S. Lewis, P.C., we have more than 30 years of experience. We advise our clients on the best ways to protect the best interests of their loved ones. Whether you are English or Spanish speaking, our attorneys are well-equipped to assist you with your guardianship petition in the state of New York. For help with the legality behind this important matter, contact our qualified Rockland County guardianship attorneys at 845-358-7100 to schedule your free consultation.