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What to do after an aging parent has a medical emergency

On Behalf of | Dec 3, 2021 | Guardianships & Conservatorships |

It’s the middle of the night, and your phone rings. It’s your mother’s neighbor, calling to let you know that she suffered a stroke and is at the hospital. You rushed down, only to have a doctor sadly inform you that they can’t talk about the specifics of her medical condition with you.

Although you may have mentioned to your parents once or twice that a power of attorney would be important, they may not have taken the time to create an estate plan. Your mother now has no one available to make medical decisions for her or handle her household until she recovers.

What can you do for them in a medical emergency where they cannot speak for themselves if they don’t have an estate plan?

You may need to seek an emergency guardianship

Typically, when the Colorado courts award a family member guardianship, it is because someone has suffered long-term or permanent incapacitation. If someone slips into a coma or becomes unable to manage their own daily life, guardianship can protect them.

While you may still hope that your parent will recover from their current medical situation, you also need to act now to protect them. Seeking a guardianship can give you temporary authority for as long as they remain incapacitated. You can help arrange for their treatments and manage their finances. An emergency guardianship may be the only way to assume the necessary authority until your loved one can make their own wishes known.

Who qualifies to serve as a guardian?

Under Colorado law, you need to be at least 21 years of age and of sound mind to serve as a guardian for another adult. You will also need to file paperwork with the courts showing that your loved one cannot manage their own affairs at the moment.

To obtain an emergency guardianship, you will also need to have evidence that something extreme and unexpected happened to your loved one and that they are in immediate danger of medical or financial harm. Proof of a sudden medical event or accident and a lack of estate planning documents can help you build your case.

Knowing that an adult guardianship is necessary can help you protect a loved one after an unexpected medical emergency leave them vulnerable.