In order to obtain guardianship of an elderly parent, a court of law must find and declare the elderly parent incompetent based on expert evaluations. Guardianship should be considered when an elderly parent has lost his/her ability to think clearly and make meaningful decisions and does not have an advanced directive or power of attorney in place, notes Aging Care.
The process of obtaining legal guardianship of an elderly parent can be a lengthy, involved and sometimes costly process. In guardianship, also known as conservatorship, the court declares the elderly person incompetent and appoints a representative to become responsible for making decisions regarding finances, medical decisions, and living arrangements, according to Aging Care.
Depending on the court’s rulings, the level of guardianship granted can be limited or broad in scope. Once guardianship is granted, the elderly parent is referred to as a ward. The appointed guardian is legally bound to seek the input of the ward in all decisions whenever possible and may act only in areas authorized by the court. In some instances, the court will allocate the decision making process for an elderly ward to several different parties, explains Aging Care. Personal decisions, such as living arrangements, may be entrusted to a family member while financial decisions are overseen by a bank trustee.