I'm considering being the guardian for my mom rather than the state. I know I should consult a lawyer, and I will, but I've done a lot of research and am looking for real life scenarios that maybe some of you have encountered. For example, will I be financially responsible to pay for my mom's assisted living if her SSI or other income is gone, or hospital stays, etc? She is currently on state long term care through AZ, but will have some expenses she will have to pay. If she loses that funding what would my responsibilities be? What issues have you had to deal with as a guardian you wish you would have known in advance?

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Reno55...It is possible that you and your brother can be co-guardians. My only bit of advise on that is do you have the same views on things. End of life treatments? Where the "Ward" will reside? and many other aspects of just everyday life.
As caregivers it is not bad enough that there is the everyday stress of what we do but add to that the stress of family input when people can not agree on something. At some point someone will be wrong at least in the eyes of the person that wanted something different.

I can not stress enough how important it is to make YOUR wishes known so if you are ever in a situation and need a Guardian or a caregiver they know what YOUR wishes actually are. There is a pamphlet called 5 Wishes and it spells everything out and it can be a great help in these situations.
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Jenn, definitely consult with an elder-law attorney. It is possible that your mom's condition may not yet preclude her from signing a durable power of attorney (POA) that would enable you to make all decisions for her. If so, getting and having POA will be easier and less expensive than guardianship and conservatorship (G&C). That said, if you have issues with family members or if your mom is not mentally competent to assign POA, then G&C is the best way you have to ensure that she receives the care she needs. Court-appointed, non-family G&Cs serve a necessary purpose, but I believe family-member G&Cs are often better advocates for the care needed for the person under G&C. Either way, POA or G&C, you should not be personally responsible for your mom's expenses (assuming you don't misuse her funds or make reckless decisions for her). And in either case, your financial and legal responsibilities should be limited to making good decisions for her within the restrictions of her financial resources. Here's a link to an attorney's thoughts on children's financial responsibilities for parent's nursing home costs:

If you haven't already gotten information on the duties and restrictions of being a G&C, you can probably get such information in your state from the court, the bar association and/or legal aid. Also, at least in Idaho, the courts require G&C petitioners to complete on-line training and pass a background check before they will name a person as a guardian and/or conservator.

Four years ago I moved my dad with late-stage Alzheimer's dementia into my home and I was his full-time caregiver. Two years later, after much consideration, I petitioned an Idaho court to become my dad's G&C over the objections of four of my seven siblings (two of the four shared POA with me and another sister, so we, in effect, had a stalemate). The reason I petitioned to become G&C was to ensure that my dad would continue living in my city rather than me being coerced by four siblings into moving him back to the state where he used to live and where a veterans memory care/skilled nursing facility costs less than half of what he has been paying for the past seven months at the best facility in my city. Why would I do such a thing? Because this is the only city where his care would be overseen by a daily visitor with no exceptions and because the facility here has the best staff/resident ratio. My experience in Idaho is that G&C paperwork is not overly burdensome (e.g. in my dad's case, in the case of my daughter with Downs Syndrome, nor in the case of my wife for her aunt with Alzheimer's).

Looking back, I regret that I may not have communicated with my siblings as well as I might have, but I was, and remain, focused on what's best for my dad rather than whether or not my siblings and I will be able to share an inheritance. While four siblings still resent me being our dad's G&C and placing him in the best memory care facility rather than the cheapest, I've resolved that that is their problem, not mine. In short, I have no regrets in becoming my dad's G&C. I hope my experience is helpful to you in making your difficult decision.
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Not familiar with guardianship. Hopefully others on here are.
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I will look back at this post later. But for now, if you have any siblings who are going to be difficult and challenging everything, use a professional guardian. The stress of being the guardian is killing me- but only because I have a brother who has a problem with the fact that he is not the guardian
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I had a unique situation.
I first went to a lawyer that spoke at a Support Group I attended. The original intent was to get a Will, Trust...set up as my Husband had JUST been diagnosed with Alzheimer's.
Short back story, second marriage for him, house was his prior to first marriage {that's why he still had it ;) }. My name was not on the title to the house.
The "Lawyer" after talking to him for a few minutes determined that he was not competent to do Will, Trust...and advised Guardianship.
It is not common that one spouse becomes Guardian over the other.
As a result...
We had to move to a home that was better for us, the house that he owned was sold but the sale had to be approved by the court.
Money from the sale of that house could not outright be used to pay down mortgage on the house that I/we bought. I could charge him "rent", for food, clothes...but the money would come out of my account then I would write checks to myself from his account. All receipts had to be kept so the court could review the expenses. This was done every 6 months.
Each time it would cost $$$ to the lawyer we had. (eventually I got an Elder Law Attorney) And an additional cost for the "Guardian ad lidem" that the court appointed. As well as an expense for a Bond since I was "Guardian of the Estate" I had to be bonded.
I could not use any money that was in his account for anything unless it was approved by the court.
Once the money ran out from the sale of the house all he was getting was Social Security since the amount was minimal I no longer had to pay the bond or get approval from the court for expenses but I still had paperwork. Every year I had to file papers on the "Condition of the Ward".

Obviously I have a bias against Guardianship.
If it can be avoided that would be the way to go. But if you have to become a Guardian talk to several Elder Law Attorneys as there are guidelines that they have to follow as well. They can not overcharge the Ward. I ended up getting a refund from the first "lawyer" that I wen to as he was charging more than he should of for a Guardianship. The Elder Law Attorney that I got advised me of the overcharge and helped in getting the court to order the first to refund the overages.
As Guardian you are not responsible to pay from your own finances anything that the Ward would normally pay.
You should be able to get a copy of a pamphlet about Guardianship from any lawyers office, the courthouse, or possibly a Senior center in your area.
If you do not think this is something that you could do, it is involved, a lot of paperwork and it can be time consuming. There are Court Appointed Guardians if there is no one else that is willing to do this. But they will charge a fee for what they do and that will come out of whatever funds that your Mom has so what she does have will not last as long as it would if you were doing all the work.
Contact your local Bar Association they should be able to provide some written info as well as maybe answer any general questions.
But I can not stress enough get a GOOD Elder Law Attorney
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I wish I had known how emotionally painful it would be to see to all my mother's ongoing financial needs, connections with the skilled nursing facility about her care and making all the medical decisions for her without having the relationship of my mother. It is a type of loss and death that is filled with a grief that seems to have no end. On the other hand there is a sense of peace knowing she is well cared for and knowing her on a level that others do not can know the decisions I make for her represent to the best of my ability what I believe she would want. There is nothing easy about this journey for her or for me. I wish she had had a good elder law attorney before the dementia took over. Someone I could now turn to for legal support. I wish I had better understood what was happening and had conversations with her about her wishes during the end stages of dementia. I wish I had understood the process of her financial care when she ran out of money and how decisions I had made without understanding the law could impact her quality of care. I wish I had asked her to go through her things and purge her letters, cards, children's keepsakes she had over the years, writings, etc. and let go of what she could so I was not left with the job. I wish I had spent more time with her prior to the dementia. This is an agony and angst like I have never known. Would I trade the responsibility to relieve the challenges - no. When she passes I will have the peace of knowing that I cared for her in the end as she cared for me in the beginning. The experience of the completion of a full circle of life while painful in the end I believe a journey worth taking.
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Not knowing where you are located, it is difficult answer completely.
However, my personal experience is that I, as DW's guardian, I am responsible for her assets and care. It does not involve my funds. I must make an annual report to the court on her assets and expenditures. I am allowed to use her money to provide the necessary care, up to $250.00 on a monthly basis. Expenses that exceed this amount must be approved by the court.
However I chose to continue supporting her as my wife, as I have done for fifty years. Such things as food, shelter, transportation, medical care.
The paper work is extensive and fairly new to me.
The laws in your area and the judge will or should provide instructions what and when to report.
As to you being responsible for expenses, not here for me. If there is something to buy, I may use my money for things like dining out. If it may be clothes, I use her money.
I am allowed to take her out of states for trips and vacations but not allowed to move her without court permission.
I was lucky and found a really good Certified Elder Care Lawyer. I recommend using only a lawyer certified in elder care and ask lots of questions. Check your county website for the courts and see if any information is available. There may be some training videos linked there, ours do. Also any legal aid groups in your area or colleges.
I wish you the best of luck.
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Jenn, I am moving your post closer to the front page of the forum. Hopefully a caregiver who is familiar with Guardianship will be able to help you.
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