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Becoming the guardian of an elderly parent

Most parents take very good care of their children, seeing to their physical and emotional needs. The shoe could eventually be on the other foot for some Ontario residents who find that a parent is starting to have difficulty thinking clearly and making prudent decisions. This could be due to several factors, some of which could include dementia, stroke, brain injury or other health issues. When an adult child is caring for a parent with this type of issue, he or she may need to seek legal guardianship to ensure the safety, well-being, finances and general quality of life for that parent.

Guardianship of the aging

Essentially, becoming a guardian for an aging parent means a child will have the power to make important decisions for his or her parents since the parent cannot do so. It may also still be necessary in addition to any power of attorney (POA) already named. Judges often see the most guardianships being sought from children acting as caregivers for parents who did not plan for this kind of situation.

Court-appointed guardian

Those seeking to become a person’s legal guardian must petition the court to do so, and that includes a child of an ailing parent. The parent must be declared incompetent, and the petitioner must be able to take on the responsibilities of guardianship such as making financial and medical decisions, seeing to added care, living arrangements, and more. The court-appointed guardian must act in the best interests of the person for whom the individual has been appointed guardian.

The laws in Ontario that speak to guardianships and their complexities. Under those laws, an adult child can’t just assume the role unless that is indicated in a will or other estate planning document. Seeking legal advice before and during this sometimes complicated process could increase one’s odds of officially becoming a guardian without any missteps along the way.

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