As people age, they tend to lose their ability to care for themselves and make critical decisions regarding their lives. This may be perpetuated by the onset of age-related conditions like Alzheimer’s, mental illness, stroke and other health complications. If your elderly parent or relative is no longer able to make clear-headed and rational decisions about their finances, health care or other crucial life matters, it might be time to consider getting a legal guardian for them.
Also referred to as conservatorship, guardianship gives the designated guardian the legal powers to make decisions such as financial and healthcare on behalf of their client. Even when the elderly person has a power of attorney (POA) in place, they may still need a guardian if the said POA is durable.
So who can become a guardian for an elderly person?
The importance of selecting the right guardian for an elderly person cannot be overstated. Here are a few factors you should consider when identifying a guardian for your elderly relative:
Age and stage of life
Age and stage in life are crucial factors worth considering when selecting a guardian. A younger candidate might be preoccupied with building their career and raising their children. An aging candidate, on the other hand, might be having their own health issues to deal with. That said, you want a guardian who will be available on short notice to make important decisions when the need arises.
Compatibility with the client
It goes without saying that a prospective guardian must have a genuine interest in their client’s well-being. Therefore, it is important to find a guardian who shares the same values as the client. Old people are prone to changing emotions. A prospective guardian should be able to handle this.
Whether you are acting on your own behalf or on behalf of a loved one, the choice of a guardian is one of the most important decisions you will ever make. Find out how you can designate a guardian that will work for you.