What information is needed about guardianship before court date?


I have read similar questions such as this one. The last year, particularly the last month has been very eventful for my parents. My dad is 91 and my mom is 93. They have lived at home alone up until now. Dad has home health who comes in twice a week to give him a bath and one a month to change his catheter. He is in a wheelchair and suffers from dementia. I have no POA. I have 2 sisters who do not have POA either. My mother has fallen 4 times in the last month and was placed in a nursing home. She will not be returning home. Social Services has been visiting my parents for 5 years. Since mom's placement, I have hired someone to come to the house in the afternoon for laundry and to fix dad a meal. Sometimes he eats, sometimes he does not. After mom's placement, I went to an attorney to petition the court for guardianship and conservatorship. Social Services agrees that my dad needs to be removed from the home. They were going to visit him early this past week and were unable to visit him. So they went on Friday. Dad was sharp as a tack when they visited and said they did not see a reason to remove him from the home on that day. The social worker said she would try several times this week. He is usually not so lucid. So I am going to court on Thursday. I am very anxious about it. Could the court give guardianship of mom to dad? If they did, he would move her back home and she would probably die with the month. He has expected her to wait on him hand and foot and she is not able. The other thing is that if dad does understand what is going on, I'm afraid he will lock me out of his house. I do all their bills and most of the errands.

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I do have an attorney. My parents were assigned an attorney also. I have the paper from the doctor saying that my mother cannot take care of herself or her affairs. I do not have this documentation for my father. It is just good to have someone tell me that I'm "doing the right thing." This was a difficult decision for me.
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Nomad, your advice is excellent.

Dean, I wouldn't normally suggest involving an attorney if there is no discord amongst the family members, but after learning that appointed guardian abuse has been occurring in our area, I would think twice now if I ever had to apply for guardianship or conservatorship. Be on the safe side; an attorney can stand up to a judge much more easily than someone not familiar with the details of court procedures.

And good luck; you have a good sense of how to handle things so I hope this works out well for you and your family.
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Everyone involved in a guardianship is notified by mail. By involved, I mean 1st degree connections, like adult children, spouses. So your father should already have been notified of the guardianship proceedings. I am in the process of getting guardianship of my mother and my lawyer is pretty much taking care of everything. All my brothers and sisters were sent letters informing them of the guardianship proceedings.

I had to send a request into the state bureau of investigation for a background check and I have to get a credit report on myself for the lawyer for him to present to the court.

I am meeting with the lawyer for a couple hours before the court proceeding so that he can tell me what to expect, etc. My mother will be having a home visit by a lawyer provided to her by the court.

I had a neuropsych cognitive eval done by a local respected psychologist that will be provided to the judge so that it is hoped that my mom will be spared the embarrassment of having various people testify that she is not of sound mind.

If you have a lawyer, he/she should be doing most if not all of the heavy lifting on this one. If you are doing it yourself, I'm sorry, that's tough. Good luck.
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I would discuss all matters with your attorney to find out what to expect and what is needed in advance. I'd inquire as to what your testimony will be, what documents and witnesses you may need.
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The court could, but based on the information here, it seems unlikely. I'm assuming, based on past legal experience in this space, that both you and the social worker would testify and provide the court with the evidence/testimony needed as to how this would be a negative outcome from your mother (and ultimately, your father).

Is there a "guardian ad litem" involved, representing your mother? Is someone representing your father or was he even served notice as to the guardianship action that would give him an opportunity to speak to the court?

You've done the right thing in moving towards a legal guardianship, and I certainly understand your trepidation going into the hearing. If there are others involved representing your mother's interest or the like, please come back and let us know. It may provide reassurance that your father isn't the only voice that would be considered in the hearing.

Please take care of yourself - you've done all you can do, and just be honest and direct with the court as to all of your concerns, observations and what you've done to try to mitigate the issue. Let the court know your anxiety over your parents. Generally, the court listens. Most understand the issues. You've got this.

Best wishes!
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