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Barring a surprise, fatal accident, almost all of us become helpless and unable to care for ourselves at some point in life. If your parents have become too elderly, too ill or too mentally unsound to take care of themselves, you may be facing this reality right now.

Children of parents who are in decline may need to step in and start making decisions on behalf of their parents so they can care for them. To fulfill this role, children may need to establish guardianship over their parents.

What powers does a guardian of an incapacitated adult have?

Courts tend to grant guardians only the powers they require to fulfill the needs of the person being cared for. As such, every guardianship case is different and the powers granted to the guardian may differ based on the facts of the particular case. That said, there are specific powers that most guardians will receive. These include:

  • Decisions required to ensure that the ward is cared for.
  • Decisions relating to the ward’s investment accounts, insurance policies, financial accounts and other financial decisions.
  • Decisions relating to the ward’s medical care.
  • The power to ensure that the ward is receiving appropriate medical care and educational services.

In addition to having the above powers, guardians will be responsible for updating the court about the condition of the ward. In the updates, the guardian should report any updates about the physical and mental health status of the ward and the living situation of the ward. The guardian must also give the court a list of all services being given to the ward by the guardian and others. The guardian must also give the court information about the current financial status of the ward.

Is it time to seek a guardianship over your mother or father’s affairs?

Most children know when their parents are too elderly or infirm to care for themselves. If your parents are in a circumstance like this, you may want to start researching as much as you can about how to seek guardianship.