You have decided that guardianship is the right decision for your aging parent, but now you don’t know how to approach them about it. As with anything else, you can get through them easier if you anticipate which questions they may have about becoming a ward. The following are some common concerns that arise when talking about guardianship and effective responses to them.
“Do I have a say in who I want as my guardian?”
Yes, wards always have a say in guardianship. The court will always consider the ward’s preference if the person they want for a guardian is:
- A U.S citizen
- Over 18
- Mentally capable
- A person that has not committed a felony
However, that the final decision will be with the judge. The judge will appoint the guardian that they think will act in the ward’s best interests, regardless of their relationship with the guardian.
“What if my guardian dies?”
Guardians may designate someone as the ward’s standby guardian so that they can take care of the ward if they die or are no longer willing or able to take care of them. If they don’t do it, the court will appoint a qualified guardian for the ward. The court will also consider the ward’s preference for a standby or successor guardian.
“What happens if my guardian is away or unavailable when I need them?”
Guardians may appoint a short-term guardian to ensure that someone will take care of the ward while they are traveling or in case they get into an accident.
“Can my guardian take advantage of their position?”
No. The court will ask the guardian to submit annual reports of the ward’s health status and the different services they may use. Estate guardians also need to send estate receipts and disbursements to the court. If the guardian misuses the ward’s estate, they will be punished by the court.
Your parent may be reluctant to hear about guardianship, but keep in mind that you are doing this out of love for them. Ultimately, it will be easier if you talk to them with patience and care.