Every once and a while, I’ll receive a call from someone whose parents are growing old and need assistance with finances and health-related decisions. Usually, my response is, “How are they doing? Do they have capacity?” To which they often respond, “Well, not quite. It depends on the day, I guess.” Unfortunately, this likely means they will have to be appointed as their parents’ guardian. To do this, they have to endure a cumbersome and expensive court process called guardianship.
If your parents lack capacity, a judge must appoint someone to act on their behalf through the guardianship process. Generally, deciding who will act on your behalf for financial and health-related decisions is your parents’ decision. However, the guardianship process requires a judge to make that decision for them—not to mention it is a long, expensive, and often emotional process.
Alternatively, if your parents do have capacity, they can appoint someone under a power of attorney or healthcare directive now. This way, if you or your parents ever need assistance or become incapacitated, whomever they appoint can act on their behalf. If done correctly, this avoids the guardianship process altogether.
If you’re interested in learning more about how we can help you or someone you know avoid the guardianship process, please contact us at (813) 244-7758 or RossSpanoLaw.com.