Elderly Woman With a RelativeGuardianship is a vital tool that helps adult children care for their incapacitated loved ones. That said, it will also remove a loved one’s right to make any of their own decisions, from where they live to the amount of cash in their pockets. Since guardianship removes all control over a person’s life, judges are required to consider a range of less restrictive options before granting a petition for guardianship.

Is Guardianship the Best Option?

While there are different types of guardianship, each one relies on a loved one’s inability to make decisions on their own. For example, a parent suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or dementia may need a guardian to protect them from scams and ensure they receive proper health care. If your loved one has the ability to make some decisions, there may be alternative legal options that are less restrictive than guardianship.

An elderly relative may not necessarily require a guardian for:

  • Medical reasons. If you are seeking guardianship because your loved one is temporarily in ill health, an advanced health care directive or medical power of attorney can help give you control over their affairs if and when they become completely incapacitated. Further, you may be the nominated health care proxy under Florida law.
  • Financial reasons. If your loved one can still pay bills on time and balance a checkbook, a durable financial power of attorney can help you manage their financial affairs or prevent large sums from going missing.
  • Loss of mobility. A person’s physical limitations may not have any bearing on their ability to make decisions independently. If you are concerned about a loved one falling down or suffering an injury, speak to them about ways to make their lives safer and easier (such as ride-sharing services or grocery deliveries). 
  • Estate planning. If your loved one is still mentally competent but has not created an estate plan, you could be able to prevent many problems before they occur. A well-crafted estate plan may include the above documents, plus designate beneficiaries and executors, create a trust, and prevent relatives from fighting after their loved one’s passing.

We understand that caring for an incapacitated loved one is difficult. While we cannot change the past, the attorneys at DeLoach, Hofstra & Cavonis, P.A. can help you explore your options. Simply fill out the quick contact form on this page to set up a consultation and get answers to your questions.