Estate Planning Isn’t Just For The Elderly

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Avoid these mistakes when petitioning for guardianship for a parent

On Behalf of | Aug 25, 2023 | Guardianships

As parents age, they may face health or cognitive challenges that make managing their affairs difficult. In New York, establishing guardianship for elderly parents is a legal way to help them with decision-making, when less restrictive means are unavailable.

Understanding the process and avoiding common mistakes can make the guardianship proceeding smoother and more successful. Here are some of the typical errors people make when petitioning for guardianship.

Waiting too long to start the process

Guardianship proceedings can take time, and waiting until a crisis occurs may leave your parents without the support they need when they need it most. Starting early can give you enough time to gather information, complete the legal paperwork and avoid unnecessary stress.

Not understanding the responsibilities

Being a guardian means making critical decisions for your parents in areas such as medical care and financial management. Failing to recognize the full scope of these responsibilities can lead to problems down the road.

Not involving your parents in the decision-making process

Even if your parents are facing cognitive or health challenges, it is vital to involve them in the decision-making process as much as possible. Their input, preferences and feelings are essential in ensuring that the guardianship arrangement reflects their wishes and needs.

Overlooking less restrictive alternatives

Guardianship is a substantial legal step that may limit your parents’ independence and autonomy. Before proceeding, it is wise to explore less restrictive options, such as powers of attorney or healthcare proxies. These alternatives may provide the necessary support without the full limitations of guardianship.

Not maintaining good records

Once you become a guardian, you have legal obligations to maintain clear and accurate records of decisions made on behalf of your parents. Neglecting this aspect can result in confusion, misunderstandings and potential legal difficulties.

Being aware of these factors can help you ensure that the guardianship serves your parents’ best interests and provides them with the support they need.