How difficult is it to get guardianship?

Asked by

I'm gonna start with a little background information.

Father is 83 yrs old. and currently in the local VA Home. The POA that I have is not strong enough to hold him there so hte VA tells me. He is coded through the VA Home as having Moderate Independent decision making impairment. Which in short means that sometimes he can make good judgments and others he is completely lost on. He has been on a feeding tube for almost a year now due to getting pneumonia twice after having a stroke which affected his swallowing. (Which has been discontinued per him eating baby foods and not having any problems with it) He has dementia, Parkinson's, Macular degeneration which has caused him to be blind in 1 eye and going blind in the other eye, chronic heart problems and kidney problems. I have had 3 different doctors tell me that he can not under no uncertain terms drive any more and those 3 also told me he is not to live alone. But he still thinks there is nothing wrong with him.


The 2 lawyers I've spoken with say that I will have to be bonded in the amount of his assets, pay insurance on that bond, and go to court every month showing what I've spent his money on. Mind you now, I have 4 kids of my own that I have to chase after ranging in ages 2-14 and I am his only child. And they also said that the judge may not appoint me to be his guardian. If I had not of had the health care proxy he would have died last year because there was no one to say put in the feeding tube. This guardianship mumbo-jumbo seems a bit un-real to me. So, I'm hoping that someone who has walked this path can help me validate this information I was given.

I'm totally lost and wondering if I'm gonna survive the stress of all this.

Answers 1 to 10 of 13
just go for conservatorship of the person - that will help you take care of his health issues but is also a serious & time consuming responsiblity, because it does not give your power over the person, it makes you responsible for their wellbeing and health in the "least restrictive setting possible". Your decisions will be reviewed yearly, and an independant investigator will check up with the healthcare providers, etc.... You must be willing to do the work, and go through the process which takes alot of care.

You should discuss your thoughts on being his guardian with with him first, and then with the staff who take care of him. It is alot of work but is rewarding if you are clear on why you are doing it, and willing to have court oversight / justify all of your decisions.

Good luck - if you want more help, let us know what state you are in, or you can ask for help at your local senior center / aging council.
Top Answer
I got Guardianship, and it's not a good idea. Don't do it. I thought it was, but you don't want the nightmare! Believe me, do not do it. You can Google Guardianship for your State. It's a last ditch effort. It doesn't do anything more that put the courts in charge of you and him. And if he complains, they'll give him a court-appointed Guardian, and you lose control of everything. Not a good idea. That's what's happening to us right now. I was told you don't need a lawayer to get Guardianship, and I didn't. But you do need a doctor to write that he needs one. Too much hassle, and you don't want to do that to your kids. The VA can't make you get Guardianship, and they can't release him without your consent. Don't let them bully you. Stay in the sunshine, and out of the courts. You want a nightmare? Go to court. If not, enjoy your babies. Trust me on this, and read Abusive Parent thread...
I have POA and I have control over everything. I don't see why you don't. He sounds like he can get on Hopsice that will take care of everything except where he will live . I don't know about that. Ask his Doc. or Call your local Hospice Home. You might be able to get full time care with Hospice. Good luck .
I would check with other elder lawyers my friend got it very easyily for her husband her lawyer set up everything and she only had to go before a judge and it was done quickly in a few weeks-if your county has an Office of the Ageing they might have a lawyer who voleenters his or her time and you can get good advice for your state-I would look into it at least-the more knowledge you get the better even if you do not use it might be good for you but at least you will have imformation to help you decide.
I have a conservatorship and I must take my Mothers book to my lawer each year to review with the Judge how I am spending my Mothers money. I keep a journal of each check written on her checking account and what it is for. She has the best of everything, weekly beauty shop appointment, manicure, pedicure, new clothes, baby sitter if we wish to go away for a week-end. That way my siblings can not question me on how her money is spent. If she ever gets so bad that I can not keep her she will have to go to a nursing home and they will take everything so my Mother can have everything she wants. She is 85 years old, her mind is keen, but she is on a walker and can not live alone. My siblings do not want her in their home, they just want her money. So sad to get old and no one wants you.
You are a precious Caregiver, looking out for your mother's best interests and desires. I'll bet the Judge smiles when he sees you coming! As for your siblings...
I agree that having your dads power of attorney should not be as difficult as being his guardian. The whole guardianship thing seems too cumbersome as described above. The PoA is the way to go - get a DURABLE PoA - that should enable you to do everything on his behalf. There are still legal ramifications, if you take his funds or abuse the authority then you can be prosecuted but there are no annual reporting requirements. Being guardian or even PoA DOES take time and the complexity of dealing with all the various medical insurance coverage takes a LOT of time! - there's- medicare, medicaide, part b part d, supplemental coverage - it can be overwhelming - there are all kinds of reports and deadlines that no one tells you about until you get a letter demanding action by a deadline.. co-pays, premiums that go up annually, direct deposits.. argh...

Anyway if you no longer wish to do this, call your local area agency on aging and see if they can help you find someone who can. You can always hire an attorney but if your dad's broke then the agency on aging will be your best bet. I am of the mind that it's better to be a loving support to your relatives than stressed out and resentful. You have the demands of your kids and if the demands of your fathers care overwhelm you, you may come to resent him. Most of us WANT to be good kids to our parents - perhaps admitting that you aren't the best person to handle his affairs IS the best thing for both of you - you can remain a loving son, spend good time with him enjoying things yet let someone else manage his medical care. There's no shame in it at all!!! Hang in there!
This thread is from 2009.
You do NOT have to be bonded. That is up to the JUDGE. Also, you hand in an audit annually, not monthly. The attorneys are telling you this to discourage you. They want to be the guardians so they can charge $7.00 for writing each check and their lovely $250.00 an hour, plus $250.00an hour to visit, and make sure all is well. There is no personal care in picking care or nursing homes.
You do not need an attorney, BUT, if your family is like mine, GREEDY, then they will all be notified of the hearing and will come and slander you to the judge. Mind you he is privy to this behavior. Just sit quietly, and do not react to any negativity. He will see this, and then he will know why they are doing this. I was appointed and I did get an attorney finally. I was reimbursed once I was appointed. You cannot be reimbursed if you are denied conservatrix. The Probate system in my moms town is terrible. VERY, VERY EXPENSIVE. Many continuances, so everyone gets a "piece of the pie". I contested one of the attorneys bills (he lowered it by $700.00) and when I needed to become trustee, the Judge, made me get bonded, although he did not for conservatrix. My mother has to pay the bond, which is about $9,000.00 on a requested $300,000.00 bond. It is either 2% or 3% of the bond amount. It is NOT your expense though. I still think it is unfair to my mom to pay this. The audits have all been perfect. I never took a DIME!
My mom and I were never close. But i was very close to my dad. After my dad died, my youngest brother who had been MIA for years came to california, sold my parenst home and moved my mom to Arkansas. A few years later my Uncle (dads brother died) I cleaned out his aprtment and found he had a sizable living trust, plus life insurance and bank accounts. When I asked my mother and brother about this thye cut off all contact. I finally tracked my brother and mom down and sent an email asking to speak to my mom. I had been trying to communicate with her for years. My brother told me I was too late , she had a stroke and couldnt speak, and that I should have been a better daughter. I called Adult protective services because I felt he was not allowing me to communicate with my mother. They went to the house, and found my mother in a chair alone, unable to hear or speak, or walk. They took her o the hospital and say she will be placed in a nursing home. My brother will be charged.
My question is: I certain my brother has been spending my moms money and Im certain I didnt get what my uncle wanted me to have. I never got anything when my dad died. So, do I get an attorney, file for conservator? Try and get what is legally mine? Or do I just let it be?
My brother told me initially mom was in debt and had a reverse mortgage, now he says that was a lie... Should he get away with it, keep living in the house? or do I evict him and sell it?
Do I send the information to social worker she requested (how much my parents home sold for? My uncles documents)

i dont know what to do!

Share your answer

Please enter your Answer

Ask a Question

Reach thousands of elder care experts and family caregivers
Get answers in 10 minutes or less
Receive personalized caregiving advice and support