If you have an elderly parent who is no longer able to manage his or her affairs, and he or she did not appoint a power of attorney when there was still time to do so, you may find yourself in a difficult situation. This is a time when guardianship may be an option, so you can help your parent manage his or her affairs in a competent and responsible way, despite the fact that he or she is no longer personally able to do so.
The court has to order a guardianship, in which you then supervise your parent's affairs and make decisions on his or her behalf, including financial and health care decisions. Gaining guardianship is a process you can do through seeking the assistance of an estate planning attorney. Here are three tips that guardians should keep in mind.
1. Keep good records
As a guardian, it is imperative that you have impeccable record keeping because you will need to submit guardianship reports to the court. Not only should you save all the documentation from transactions you make on behalf of the person over whom you have guardianship, but you should also organize the documents in a system that allows you to access them easily. This will help you if and when the court asks for specific information regarding a particular transaction on a particular date.
2. Keep deadlines
The courts have specific guidelines you must follow regarding record keeping and reporting, as well as timeframes within which you must submit your guardianship reports. You should make sure you understand these deadlines and have your reports and information ready well in advance.
3. Seek help if you need it
You may need to make some very critical decisions regarding your ward's health or financial situation, and particular decisions may be quite difficult to make or carry out. If you find yourself struggling to make decisions or unsure about how to proceed, you should seek professional legal assistance so you can have the peace of mind that comes from knowing you are making an informed and legally sanctioned action.