Seeking guardianship over an adult loved one is not a decision to be made lightly. There are quite a few factors that you should consider before taking this rather drastic step. However, becoming a guardian for an aging adult is sometimes a necessary step to keep them safe and financially stable. As people age, a variety of medical conditions such as Alzheimer's or dementia can prevent them from making reasonable decisions about their life or make it impossible for them to responsibly manage their property and finances. While it may at times be a difficult step - legally and emotionally - it may be the best way to protect a loved one.
A guardianship attorney may be able to help you decide whether filing for guardianship is an appropriate step, and guide you through the court proceedings if it is.
What Are the Two Types of Guardianships in Kane County?
First, you should know that there are two types of guardianships - guardianship of the person, and guardianship of the estate. Guardianship of the person allows the guardian to make decisions such where the person under guardianship (the “ward”) will live. This type of guardianship is often sought when an elderly person can no longer safely live at home, but will not voluntarily go to a care facility.
A guardianship of the estate simply allows you to take over managing the ward’s property and finances. This may be sought in cases where the aging adult is safe where they are, but has begun spending recklessly, such as by donating so much money that they cannot pay their bills.
What Factors Should I Weigh When Considering Seeking a Guardianship?
When deciding whether seeking guardianship is a necessary step, consider:
Medical opinion - If you can, talk to your loved one’s doctor or other health professionals who care for them. This may help you gain a better understanding of their decision-making capacity, health situation, and prognosis.
Safety - This is by far the most important factor you must consider. Your loved one’s safety comes first and foremost. If their decisions are putting them at risk of physical harm, then guardianship of the person may be the best solution to keep them safe.
Alternatives - If you are just now starting to consider the possibility of guardianship in the future, it is important to know that there are alternatives available. If your loved one is willing (and still has the capacity) to agree now that you or another trusted person should be responsible for caring for them or their property after they become incapacitated, you can use documents like powers of attorney to preserve their privacy and avoid going to court for guardianship entirely.
Change in condition - You know your loved on well and may be in the best position to track changes in their physical and mental status. If your elderly father has never gambled before and is suddenly losing money this way, you may have greater cause for concern than you would if he has always enjoyed a weekly poker game.
These are just a few of many factors to consider before filing for guardianship.
Contact a Kane County Guardianship Attorney
If you are ready to seek guardianship or would like to learn more about the alternatives, contact Kinnally Flaherty Krentz Loran Hodge & Masur P.C.. Our compassionate Aurora guardianship lawyers would be happy to help your family as you navigate these decisions. Call 630-907-0909 for a free consultation.