As people age, they are bound to lose their independence and ability to care for themselves. When your parent, grandparent or someone you love gets to this point, you need to begin exploring available options to ensure that they live comfortably during their sunset years.
One of the options you can consider is appointing a legal guardian for your loved one. Basically, this is an individual with the legal authority to make decisions on behalf of the elder person (ward) who is no longer competent to act on their own. But how do you know the time is right to appoint a guardian for your loved one?
Here are two questions you may want to ask.
Is your parent legally incapacitated?
When your parent suffers a medical condition like stroke or dementia that renders them legally incapacitated, you may have a strong case for appointing a guardian for them. If they have the mental capacity following the health issue, then you may involve them in appointing a guardian. If they lack the mental capacity, however, then you will have to appoint a guardian on their behalf.
Does your parent agree with the idea?
Sometimes, the ward may consent to the idea of getting a guardian for them rather than going to a nursing home. In this case, you should let them actively participate in the process of vetting and designating one. However, you will still have to formalize the guardianship in court.
Guardianship is a very serious legal process that is designed to protect and support vulnerable wards. As such, you do not want to take the decision to appoint a guardian for your loved one lightly. Learning more about New Jersey guardianship laws can help you make the right decisions when appointing a guardian for your aging parent.