I worry that my sister & husband,who never help & rarely visit, will seek guardianship of our mother to control her estate. Can they?

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I currently help with the care and needs of my 94 year mother.

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I suppose they can try, but that doesn't mean they'd be appointed. What makes you worry that this will happen? Have they mentioned this?

Guardianship will not be granted for a person who is legally competent to make her own decisions.

Guardians have to strictly account to the court about how they manage the finances. Perhaps when your sister finds this out she will be less interested in applying.

If/when you hear they are proceeding with this attempt, consult a lawyer specializing in Elder Law immediately.

Has your mother named an executor in her will? That seems like a prudent move in the circumstances.
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KatetheGreat, I agree with the advice given by TNtechie, but if you're pretty sure that your mother does not have dementia (your profile only mentions vision problems), then a guardianship filing will not likely be approved by a judge, especially if it is obvious that your mother's safety and security is not at risk due to the care you help provide. Guardianship would have to be filed in the county in which your mother is currently living and all of her adult children would have to be officially notified of the filing before the court hearing date could be set. A medical doctor would have to report to the court that your mother was mentally incompetent and probably a "court visitor," as well. I think your sister would find all of this tough to accomplish if your mom doesn't need a guardian and especially so given that she rarely visits and never helps. But if you don't currently have your mom's DPOA for finances and health care, then it's past time to get that done. And, as TNtechie suggested, consult with an elder-law attorney and/or the county board of guardians to get specific, expert advice.
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Reply to bicycler
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Yes they can seek guardianship during her lifetime. The estate left after her death is not controlled by a guardian - in the absence of a will naming an executor, they would need to file to be the estate's administer after her death.

My brother filed for guardianship of my mother to gain control of the financial assets and because he didn't like that she had excluded him from her POA documents. He had to drop his case (with prejudice) because my Mom was not incompetent and he wasn't a good candidate for guardianship if she had been. Still, my other sibling and I (who are POAs) had to spend money on a lawyer to defend our POA actions. If the suit had gone further, the court appointed guardian-ad-litum would have been paid at an hourly attorney rate from my mother's assets to oversee her care while the case was contested in court.

Consult with an elder law attorney immediately about the law in your state and what (if any) defenses you can put in place. Even when they don't have much of a chance of winning guardianship, the process can be very intrusive and painful. My mother had made her POAs more than a decade before she ever had any senior moments and the court would have likely appointed the POAs as guardians, but it was still very disturbing to her to have her POAs challenged. She thought she had made the proper arrangements "so that XXX never has any voice in my care" but found out the state's guardianship laws leave all seniors venerable. She felt very badly betrayed that her abusive child could gain access to all her medical and banking records just by _filing_ for guardianship.
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