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What does assuming guardianship over an elderly parent entail?

On Behalf of | Apr 6, 2024 | Guardianships & Conservatorships |

It can be a very difficult experience to watch parents age. Changes in their physical appearance and abilities can be hard to process for those who always looked up to their parents. Witnessing cognitive decline can be outright painful. The adult children of aging parents may eventually begin to worry that their parents cannot adequately take care of themselves anymore. They may want to intervene to offer support, but it can be difficult to know how much intervention is appropriate.

When parents cannot safely manage their own affairs, their adult children might take the matter to court and seek a guardianship. How does an adult guardianship benefit those struggling with the challenges of independent living later in life in Colorado?

Guardianship creates legal responsibility

The party who seeks guardianship over an adult with compromised abilities has a responsibility to meet that individual’s needs. They should ensure that someone has proper medical care, adequate shelter and the other basics of daily life.

Additionally, the guardian must make numerous decisions on behalf of the ward in their care. An older adult subject to a guardianship likely does not have control over their own financial resources. They cannot decide where they live or what medical treatment they undergo. They cannot enter into a contract or file a lawsuit on their own behalf. The guardian acting for their protection handles all of those matters instead.

How to secure a guardianship

Unless someone already has a durable power of attorney naming their own children as their care providers during times of incapacitation, obtaining guardianship often requires that someone first go to court. The probate courts can review evidence about someone’s current ability to manage their own affairs and potentially grant the petitioning party a guardianship.

Medical evidence that includes a history of significant decline could help in some cases. Financial evidence that older adults have failed to properly manage their resources and meet their responsibilities could also help. Even testimony from neighbors and others who know the elderly parents could help.

Those worried about the ability of their parents to continue living independently can take action by pursuing a guardianship. Securing guardianship may allow adult children to better protect and support their parents as age changes their independent living ability. Seeking personalized legal guidance is a good way to get started.