Elder Law Issues – Guardianship
Scenario: Margaret and Susan are home for the holidays visiting their elderly father. They
discover that while he is still managing to take care of himself personally that his vision is
beginning to fail. His checking account is overdrawn and he has money missing from his savings
account where he has paid someone to make repairs on the house that were never completed.
Further investigation reveals that he has not paid his utilities for several months but thinks
everything is current. After talking with one of his close friends, they have reason to believe he
is no longer able to handle his financial affairs. What do they do?
The father did not execute a durable power attorney that would allow his daughters to take
over his affairs. Their only recourse is to file a petition with the court and ask that the court
determine that their father is no longer competent to handle his financial affairs and request
that one or both of them be appointed guardian of their father’s property. This would require
Hiring an attorney to draft the petition and file for guardianship with the court;
Paying the appropriate filing fees;
Notifying parties in interest;
Appointing of a Guardian at Litem in most states to represent the interest of the father;
Medical evaluation of the father to determine his mental and physical condition; and
A hearing before the Court to rule on the question of guardianship.
Filing a guardianship petition with the Court can be an expensive and time-consuming affair.
The only way to avoid this when dealing with elderly parents is to have executed a durable
power of attorney before aging parents become incapacitated. Consult with a competent
attorney when executing wills or other testamentary documents to make sure every
contingency is considered.
Experienced estate planning attorneys Mobile AL of the Ryan Hicks Cumpton & Cumpton LLP
offers estate planning and business planning resources to residents of Mobile AL. To learn more
about these free resources, please visit www.epattorneys.com today.