The older our parents and loved ones get, the more we have to consider becoming their caretaker. As our elder family members lose their ability to care for themselves, Guardianship may become necessary. Being an appointed guardian allows you to have a greater role in the elderly person’s important healthcare decisions and financial matters. The older our parents and loved ones get, the more we have to consider becoming their caretaker. As our elder family members lose their ability to care for themselves, Guardianship may become necessary. Being an appointed guardian allows you to have a greater role in the elderly person’s important healthcare decisions and financial matters.
What is Guardianship?
Guardianship is the ceding of certain responsibilities towards the appointed guardian. This includes the caretaking and management of real estate, taxes, medical care, etc. Even if the elderly person can continue to care for themselves and handle these responsibilities, guardianship affords you the right to step in and give assistance to them when you deem it necessary.
Guardianship may be obtained in one of two ways. The first is by the elder person’s consent thereby providing you with permission to be appointed guardian. The second is to make a request of the elderly person to be appointed as their guardian under the assumption such person is not able to care for or make competent decisions for him or herself.
If Your Family Member Resists Guardianship
Some elderly family members will oppose guardianship. To many elderly people, the appointment of a guardian is a form of giving up independence. The truth is, it is simply a way for you to help take care of and further protect your loved ones as they age and become less able to fully care for themselves. In some cases, it is a precaution; in others, it is a full protective measure.
Under New York law, the court can decide if an elderly person requires a guardian by looking at a wide spectrum of factors. This includes physical and mental deficits; medications that can affect behaviors, cognitive functioning, or judgment; alcoholism or any other substance dependence; and the extent of administration required to properly care for their affairs and assets. An elderly person who does not want to willingly give up their rights or refuses a guardian may be provided a lawyer and has the ability to appear before a court to oppose the appointment of a guardian. An alleged incapacitated person is entitled to legal counsel to represent them.
Working with Your Attorney
Your legal counsel can help you put into motion the petition and other supporting documents necessary to make an application to the Court for appointment as guardian. Be mindful that the court will consider alternatives to guardianship such as in-house nurses, aides, or nursing homes in order to achieve the least restrictive alternatives for the elder person.
For more than 40 years, our firm has been helping people like you with their estate planning needs— and we bring you the knowledge and resources to protect you and your family. Call 718.477.7700 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation with an estate planning attorney at Armstrong & Lamberti, PLLC. We proudly serve Staten Island, Brooklyn and the other boroughs of New York City.