I have been accused of expoliting him financially. Not true. My sister wants to file for his gurdianship. Is this the only way to protect Dad and myself against the ex. The ex sister in law is about to loose her own home and is only looking for fincancial gain. Can I be co guardian? Nether one of us has the money to hire a lawyer. I did retain one but they have been helpful to some degree. Any suggestions?

This discussion has been closed for comment. Start a New Discussion.
Jeannie is spot-on. So have they actually gone to court and filed? Or just talk?

Guardianship or conservatorship is a pretty serious set of legal requirements involving medical and social documentation and hearings before a judge. Any interested party can file for G/C. You have the right to go to court to petition to become their legal guardian -- although that doesn't mean the arrangement will automatically come to pass. I believe this is done through Probate Court in all states. The good part about this is you will learn a lot how Probate runs if you become executor of the estate (LOL).

To be appointed a legal guardian, also called a conservator, you first need to file papers with the local court, clearly describing the person’s physical or mental condition and inability to make decisions. You will need to provide documentation - like letters from physicians, social workers, etc. - that clearly support this. The court will notify other family that the papers have been filed and that a judge will be deciding whether or not to grant the request. You will be asked to provide that list – don’t get cute and leave anyone off. Other family can file letters either supporting or contesting - the judge takes all this very seriously. So if xSIL does file, then you need to go to contest their suitability for the G/C and contest the necessity of a G/C as you have been the POA & Guardian with no issues to date (assuming this is the case). The G/C applicant may be asked to personal and financial data that is entered into public record. The court will X the applicant's name for police records. So if your sounds like a deadbeat xSIL does file, her financial situation will not look good to the judge. But you better be sure, your situation is pristine if you counter file for being appointed G/C.

This is sticky, you'll likely need to hire an experienced lawyer to help. To begin your search for the best lawyer for the job, contact the local bar association and ask whether it has a lawyer referral service that includes those who specialize in conservatorships or elder law. You can also contact the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys for a referral to its members in your area.

The G/C judge does NOT have to appoint your xSIL or you or a family member as the G/C. If there is family friction, they will appoint an outsider to manage the elder's affairs and that person will be paid to do so out of the person’s assets. The probate judge has a list of attorney's at the ready, that are vetted by the state to be G/C if the family is arguing or there is a suitability issue. You really need to present a united front that is all kum-ba-ya on their care. If you don't, the Court has the right to remove them from all family members and make him a Ward of the State.

The court is going to look first to immediate family as the G/C, you as his blood daughter and current caregiver is probably going to be looked at more favorably
than an xSIL. But you really need legal if it goes to court. Good luck

You have hit a very sticky situation, However you have all the advantages on your side. Your are his primary care-giver. You have a Financial Power of Attorney. Do you have a Durable POA for his Health Care Decisions? Is he competent enough to sign one. Have you spoken to your Dad about the situation? Ultimately, if he is competent enough, it's his decision. If your income levels are low enough there are county legal offices that can help with drawing up the documents,an can even cover court costs. I sympathize with your situation. Have you considered a Living Trust that puts his property/belongings under your control if you feel your sister is after his assets. Basically, since your Dad gave you and not your sister Financial POA, a guardianship is kind of useless,since you already have control of his finances. At this point, all you need to do, (which I'm sure you have already done) is keep records on his expenditures separate from your own) Any judge, should it come to it, you have your ducks in a row, and nothing to worry about. Your X-Sister -in-Law has no standing (not an interested party). The only interested parties are blood relatives, and the only ones that could file for guardianship.

You can sometimes do guardianship without a lawyer. You and your sister should go to your local social services office and speak to someone who works in aging services or with the coalition on aging. In many states/counties these folks can help you file the appropriate paperwork. Make sure you have his diagnosis from his physician.

I'm having a little trouble getting this straight in my mind.

You have been acting in the role of POA and as Caregiver.

Ex-sister-in-law and brother-in-law (husband and wife?) are filing for guardianship. How are these people related to your dad? I guess that is the part I'm not seeing.

Your sister (your father's daughter, I presume) is considering also filing for guardianship -- just to keep the others from getting it? Your sister is otherwise OK with you being POA.

If your sister does file, you are wondering if you and she can be co-guardians.

Do I have this correct?
First of all, I do not think this is a do-it-yourself project, and I think you will need to have a lawyer, so that is the first hurdle to cross.

Are you sure the ex has actually filed? Or is just talking about it? This is costing her money. Does she have money?

Since it sounds like you do not necessary want guardianship, and you are getting along just fine with POA, your elder law attorney can advise you whether/how to object to the ex's filing or to take action on your own. A court will not necessarily grant guardianship to a party just because they are the ones who filed for it.

This site has a useful article on guardianship, here:

Good luck!

This discussion has been closed for comment. Start a New Discussion.
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter