We are used to associating guardianship with children. However, guardianship for elderly is also common in cases when their mental or physical capacities are weakening. It can be heartbreaking to witness how your loved ones age. And you might have a hard time deciding whether they need a guardian or not. Essentially, a guardian is a person who would take care of their finances, living arrangements, medical decisions, etc. So, let’s look when exactly a guardianship for elderly is necessary.
There are a number of alternatives at place when it comes to taking care of elderly family members. Those include assisted living arrangement, power of attorney. But now let’s look closer when guardianship is the best option for everybody.
Power of Attorney
If a person knows that someday they might be incapacitated then they will sign a durable power of attorney document. The document will both apply to finances and health care decisions. Basically, the document legally empowers another individual to take decisions on behalf of the elderly person.
However, it is very likely that filing such a document wasn’t in plan for your elderly relative. That will mean, that you as the family of the incapacitated will no longer be able to manage the financial, legal and medical processes for them. That is when a family should seek a guardian, who would take care of all those affairs.
Possibility of Exploitation
Elderly people are an easy fraud target, not to mention ones who are incapacitated. But it’s not just the strangers that are willing to take an illegal advantage, elderly people can also become a victim of someone who holds the durable power of attorney. Not to mention, that one can manipulate the elderly individual to give them the power of attorney in the first place.
If you think that your elderly relative is being manipulated by a fiduciary, you might have to take action. Meaning to become their legal guardian to ensure their protection. Because as a guardian you have the right to file a lawsuit against the fiduciary.
Refusal to Follow Family’s Care Plan
Many families that take care of elderly people would recognise this scenario. Some people find their journey into elderhood very difficult. To the point that they might refuse to acknowledge that they are in need of help and care. Especially, the cognitively impaired individuals might not even realise their condition and that someone looking after them is not an option but a necessity.
Before you consider guardianship for elderly relatives, try to have a genuine conversation with them about that. Be patient and understanding and to reach an agreement with them on what type of care they need. Maybe the conversation will soon reveal that they are willing to move to an assisted living facility. Therefore, there will be no more need for being their guardian. However, if they are still reluctant to accept care and their mental state doesn’t allow them to reason properly, they being their guardian might be the only option.
Becoming a Guardian in California
Visit the California County courthouse and ask a court clerk to provide you with a 505 and GC 100 form. You can download the form online by visiting California Court Self Help website. The 505 form details the California guardianship, while the GC 100 form is the actual application that you need to fill to become a guardian.
Carefully fill out the GC 100, writing down the every party’s names and the reason why guardianship is necessary. Don’t forget documents that will support whatever reason you mention. Those can be death certificates, recommendation by social workers, etc. Then you will go on to file all the documentation with the California county court and pay the fee. The fee might range depending on where the elderly individual lives.
And lastly, you will need to attend the guardianship hearings with the elderly individual. Truthfully respond to judge’s question and be sure to ask questions yourself if something is unclear. The judge will have questions for you, the elderly and the witnesses. And will eventually determine how much of a guardianship he thinks that the adult needs.
Considering and then filing guardianship for elderly might be a difficult to go through. But you will definitely be better off if you follow every step carefully.