Can a caregiver get temporary guardianship over an elder?

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Q: Mom is ill and can't care for my father right now. Do I need guardianship to move him in with me?

A: You want to be sure that there is some way to provide the best care for your father.

The best way to do that is for him to sign a durable Power of Attorney (POA). If he did not already do that and is no longer mentally competent to do so, then you will indeed need to have the court appoint a legal guardian and/or conservator to act on behalf of your father.

A "guardian" is usually put in charge of personal and medical decisions and a "conservator" would have the power to control and access the individual's money (bank accounts, retirement accounts, investments, etc.).

Once your mother regains the ability to care for your father, you can certainly allow her to continue to do so. The fact that you are the guardian will not prevent her from caring for your father.

K. Gabriel Heiser is an attorney with over 25 years of experience in elder law and estate planning. He is the author of "How to Protect Your Family's Assets from Devastating Nursing Home Costs: Medicaid Secrets," an annually updated practical guide for the layperson.

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6 Comments

My mother lives in California and has a live in person helping her. We live in Georgia. How do we find out if my mother has a will or a POA?. We know she has a living trust.
Article is great and informative.I wish there was more actual experiences given so one can get more insight on what to do with meddling sibling or siblings regarding an elderly Aunt whom they never acknowledge, until they became homeless with drug addictions.I need help Help anyone?
It seems that when an elderly person becomes ill and needs the care only the ones in need themselves come to the rescue. I take care of an elderly lady and all the members in her will do not call come to see her etc. The day she went into the hospital they were there or calling. I call it reviving the memories. She got well and off they go again with their lives. I give her the support and care she needs when they are gone. I always keep in mind it is all about her and not them. I bet you can seek legal help if it is really needed. If they are affecting her life and exposing her to negative issues it can be done. It doesn't mean they are the best ones because they are family it is the one who cares and gives her the needs and wants she desires for her to live a happy and comfortable life until God calls her. Ask her talk to her find out, build a trust with her where she can feel that she is being heard. It is hard and takes time but the reward you will receive is that relationship you have and the smile on her face when she knows you are there.