When a parent grows old and physically or mentally infirm, the adult children of the family may need to consider forming a guardianship to protect that elder from harm and fraud. This is a common occurrence and the American Association of Retired Persons notes that of the millions of adults under guardianship in the United States, over 80% are seniors.
While guardianship can prevent issues that come with aging and failing mental health, issues may arise within the family and cause contention, as well as a few common issues that could harm the elder over time.
Arguments over responsibility
In some guardianship cases, the question of who will manage the guardianship may cause arguments among the adult children in the family. One individual may feel that his or her brother or sister is not responsible enough to handle guardianship and petition the local court to take over the duties instead. These legal struggles may drag on for months, usually leaving the elder without some kind of financial and physical protection.
When family members who do not get along become involved in a guardianship case, the issue usually becomes even more personal and the arguments more intense. This usually occurs because the elder no longer has a say in his or matters and may not have the capacity to appoint a guardian. When family history and old grievances arise, the main issue, which is the well-being of the elder, may take a backseat to circular arguments and bitterness.
Arranging legal guardianship in a trust while an elder still has the mental capacity to choose one can help prevent contention later on. Such planning can benefit the elder and family members alike.