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Probate and Estate Litigation Blog

How can you gain guardianship of an elderly person?

Sometimes things happen that are beyond our control. Individuals who have a loved one who is no longer able to take care of themselves may feel that things are out of their control. If this occurs, Minnesota families may need to take legal action in the form of probate litigation to become a guardian of their elderly loved one, which could give them back their sense of control.

When an elderly loved one can no longer make decisions for themselves, a family member may want to step in and establish guardianship. Usually, an attorney who specializes in estates and trusts can petition the court for such a guardianship. The court will then hold a hearing and determine whether or not the family member or interested party will be appointed the guardian. If a guardianship is established, the guardian will need to manage the finances very carefully and regularly make reports to the court.

An alternative to establishing guardianship would be to have someone appointed as power of attorney for financial decisions, and creating an advance health directive for health care decisions. This can help a family avoid going to court and provide the same legal benefits as those that have guardianship rights.

When our loved ones age, it can be hard for families to make decisions about those elderly loved ones' best interests. This is a very difficult time for families, and there are many emotions at play. It is important to have legal documents in place for a relative's wishes to be honored, though, as well take the appropriate steps to ensure that their needs are met. An attorney may be able to help a family who is facing these issues by advising them as to what may be the best options for their situation.

Source: AARP, "How do I get legal guardianship of my loved one?" Oct. 24, 2016

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