If you petition for guardianship at the request of Adult Protective Services, but your parents retain an attorney what should next step be?

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Both parents have been diagnosed with dementia, both have police records of violence. There are hospital records, as well as a licensed elder care/dementia hospital stay. Adult Protective Services actually contacted the family and requested we do something more permanent to help them. We filed for guardianship, which looked pretty cut and dry. Then parent A went and got an attorney, spending all their income for the month. The attorney is challenging all the evidence and even the petitioners (us). With so much evidence that shows a need for guardianship, do we need to retain an attorney as well? How much information are we required to submit to their attorney? He sent a 'wish list' of items such as our driving record for the last 8 years and financial records.

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Yes. And call APS as well but be prepared to stand your ground. Know that in spite of what they may tell you, you have no - NO - legal obligation to take this on. In my opinion no moral or ethical responsibility either. I have found some social workers will attemp to make you feel as you do either by insinuation or by out- right lying. Do only what you want to do for your parents knowing you would have been put in an impossible situation otherwise.
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Wow, thank you everyone who responded. Very helpful information here....and I do appreciate everyone taking the time to type out such in depth and informative answers. I do believe I am walking away. I have ZERO issues to hide....I'm financially stable, worked for the police department and have been fingerprinted/back ground checked for foster/adoptive care so the courts wouldn't have an issue with me, or at least I don't think they would.

I have helped some with their bills, but never signed checks or been on their accounts...etc. It would go well for 3-4 months and then they'd change accounts, cancel their post office box...etc. Even the banking personnel encouraged me to get on their accounts because of all the issues, but I refused. They have let things lapse more than once, lost insurance, been in accidents....etc so it is getting to the point where they can physically take care of themselves (bathing, and somewhat when it comes to toilet issues) but they don't understand or keep up with their finances or medical issues. They refuse to take medications.....etc.

I, however, never wanted to take over their finances or their medical care. I've always ran them to doctor's appointments/hospitals and that's fine. I just don't want to deal with their hostility or paranoia on a daily basis. It was only because of the recommendation from APS that we filed these papers. Now they have spent another months worth of income (they had a small amount in savings but I'm not sure how they are paying the attorney at this point) on this attorney. The attorney had a very distant MD, that my mother had already 'fired' sign a form that she is competent to drive.....not sure how that trumps our psychological evaluation stating the opposite.

Thank you again for all of your input, I guess I just need to call the courts tomorrow and withdraw my petition?
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I'm addressing only one question, and the overall general issues of your guardianship.

1. The issue of how much you're expected to provide to the attorney.

If he/she requested, or sent a "wish list", you aren't obligated. If he/she submitted Interrogatories, generally under court rules you are obligated to respond. How much information you provide is a different story. Responses such as "that information is privileged", irrelevant, etc. can be used. This is, however, when you definitely need an attorney because precedent case law may require a level of response with which you would be unfamiliar.

If the attorney files a Motion to Compel Answers, or a Motion for More Specific Answers, then you could be forced to comply if a judge concurs.

CAVEAT: My experience with court action for guardianship was limited to that of a court reporter; I have never been a participant. The response actions I addressed occur in Circuit Courts; I don't know for sure if they would apply in courts that handle guardianships; court rules as well as specific court procedures would probably govern that.

Nor do I have any experience with a Surrogate Court; to my knowledge there aren't any such entities in Michigan. So I'm just extrapolating from Circuit and higher level court experiences to what MIGHT BE applicable to your court proceedings.

I responded just to make you aware that this attorney could get aggressive, although it sounds as if he/she already has.

2. General situation. I totally, wholeheartedly agree and sympathetically urge you to evaluate and reconsider attempting to be guardian for your parents. If you should win, the parent who hired an attorney could and probably would be hostile toward you, verbally, and possibly more.

With parents who have a criminal record, I'd feel as if I had become a potential victim. You never know what they'll do to retaliate against you. And I think that's a real possibility.

What probably is likely is that they won't cooperate,at all, and you'll be held legally responsible because you're responsible for them. They could even sabotage your efforts as retaliation against you.

It's also possible they'll spend all their money and you'll end up extending yourself financially, or unable to even handle their care.

This whole situation is like walking over a sinkhole - you could go under and never get out at any time.

I support and respect you for stepping up to the situation, but it's time for a mid-course re-evaluation. Back away and let paid professionals handle the situation.
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In order to consider YOU as a Guardian, the court itself will want you to be fingerprinted, background checked and credit checked. If you were the complainant in any of the charges of violence, or if you have bad credit or traffic infractions, or the parents or siblings object to your appointment, the judge will appoint an independent third party as Guardian. In the long run, consider that a blessing, because they are going to be difficult down the road.
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Are you sure parent retained lawyer, and this is not simply court-appointed attorney?
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I think that I might ask the court to appoint them a public Guardian. Usually, it's the County's Dept of Social Services. That way, you can support them as their adult child, without having so much responsibility. It's very difficult being a guardian for even one person who has dementia and who is resistant and violent. My goodness.

I would at least consult with an attorney. Laws vary from state to state, but in some states, the Court appoints a Guardian ad litem (friend and attorney of the Ward) to the Ward at the time the Petition is filed. The Guardian ad litem is supposed to investigate the situation and report back to the Court, rendering an opinion of the situation and whether the Ward needs a guardian and who it should be. I'd find out if that has been done and if it's customary in your state. It should be in the case file in the courthouse. AND they should have contacted you by now. This person may or may not agree with the Ward's private attorney.
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The standard Guardian hearing includes your attorney, their attorney and a court appointed evaluator. Show your evidence to the evaluator, including medical records. Be sure APS is involved in the hearing.
Note that even if they did not retain an attorney, the court would have appointed one to represent them at a hearing. That's standard procedure.
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I could not agree more with Babalou. You didn't say how hands-on you have been in your parents care up until this all started. If it hasn't been much, take it on good authority from the people here that it can be very, very difficult - and that would be what is said from the people who WANT to be doing it. From those of us who have to do it for other reasons - well, most of us will tell you it varies from difficult to nightmare-ish. I do apologize for speaking for anyone but myself here. Anyhow - my point is that it's hard enough when you have a parent who actually agrees to your care, POA role etc. With your parents willing to go to this degree to keep you at arms length - I think you will live to regret this path of action. Taking legal action to gain guardianship can be a lengthy, difficult, expensive process and there is no guarantee you will win. How I see it is after the lawyers have all your money and all your parents money - you will or will not have guardianship - either way you've lost. See the handwriting on the wall - volley the ball back into APS' court and be relieved you've dodged a bullet.
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It's probably not easy to do but you could walk away and let APS and your parents lawyer duke it out. The situation sounds impossible. Violence, criminal records plus dementia and a lawyer. I'd walk and not look back.
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See here's the thing. If Parent A is able to retain and lawyer and the lawyer does not immediately see that parent is too demented to enter into a contract, you have a problem. Is that parent, who still has some capacity, providing care for the more diminished parent? Have you filed for guardianship for them both?

If they are going to fight this, they are going to fight all your efforts to get them care. And then YOU as the guardian are at fault when they get hurt. I'd walk away and let professionals get guardianship.
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