Is it Time for Me to Seek Guardianship of My Elderly Parent?

Published On: December 21, 2022Categories: Estate Planning

Rockland County Guardianship Lawyer

As parents age, their children often take on a bigger and bigger role in their lives. Many adult children help their elderly parents with household chores, yard work, and getting to and from medical appointments. However, some elderly parents need a greater level of care. They may be unable to make sound medical decisions or keep up with paying the bills, handle daily living activities, or provide for their own safety. When an elderly parent is incapacitated by dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, or other health conditions, his or her child may wish to become that parent’s legal guardian.

Guardianship of an Adult in New York

Being a legal guardian is a major responsibility. An “Article 81 guardianship” gives the guardian the authority to make decisions on behalf of the incapacitated person. According to New York law, guardianship of an adult is granted when:

  • The individual is unable to care for their own needs or handle financial issues
  • This incapacity is likely to cause the individual harm

New York courts seek to maximize the individual’s independence as much as is safely and reasonably possible. Consequently, courts seek to implement the “least restrictive form of intervention” possible when appointing a guardian. So, the guardian may have decision-making authority in some areas of the individual’s life but not all areas of his or her life.

If an allegedly incapacitated person (AIP) agrees to guardianship, establishing guardianship is relatively straightforward. However, if the AIP disagrees with the need for guardianship, the court will need to see sufficient evidence of the person’s incapacitation before assigning a guardian. This often involves an assessment of the AIP’s physical and mental health, ability to manage financial affairs, and capacity to perform daily living activities.

Signs that Guardianship May Be Right for You and Your Family

Guardianship gives legal authority over a person’s life to another individual or entity. It can be hard to know when a disabled adult has reached a point where guardianship is necessary. However, some signs that it may be time to look into guardianship of an elderly parent include:

  • Your parent forgets to pay bills and has suffered adverse consequences such as the electricity being turned off or property being repossessed as a result

  • Your parent makes dangerous mistakes such as leaving the stove on or forgetting to close the front door

  • Your parent continues to drive even though he or she is no longer able to drive safely

  • Your parent is being financially exploited or otherwise being taken advantage of by another party

  • Your parent frequently forgets to take medication or takes too much medication

  •  You need to admit your parent to a nursing home but he or she refuses to go

Contact a Rockland County Guardianship Lawyer

Hudson Valley guardianship attorney Robert Lewis understands that seeking guardianship of your aging parent can be complicated both legally and emotionally. He can answer all of your legal questions and walk you through the process of setting up guardianship. Call Law Offices of Robert S. Lewis, P.C. at 845-358-7100 for a free consultation. Se Habla Español.