How To Get Guardianship Of A Parent?

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June 6, 2023 by Marjorie R. Rogers, MA (English), Certified Consultant

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To get guardianship of a parent, file a petition in court and follow the necessary legal procedures. Guardianship is a legal process that grants an individual the authority to manage the personal and financial affairs of an incapacitated adult.

If you are interested in obtaining guardianship of your parent, there are several steps you can take to make the process go more smoothly. It’s important to understand the legal requirements, gather necessary documents, and seek legal advice if necessary.

This article will guide you through the steps required to obtain guardianship of a parent, including how to file a petition in court, what information and documents you will need to provide, and how to manage your parent’s affairs once you are appointed as their guardian.

How To Get Guardianship Of A Parent?


Explaining Guardianship

Guardianship is a legal agreement designed to provide protection and care for a person who cannot make decisions for themselves. In this case, we will discuss how to get guardianship of a parent. It is a common misconception that guardianship is only for children; however, adults who are mentally or physically unable to care for themselves can also have a guardian.

Definition Of Guardianship And Its Purpose

Guardianship is a legal arrangement where a person is appointed to make decisions on behalf of another individual, who is not capable of it, called the ward. It is put in place when the court determines that the person needing a guardian is incapable of making responsible decisions about their healthcare, finances, or daily care.

When someone is assigned as a guardian, they assume legal responsibility for the welfare of the ward, making decisions for them just like parents do for their children. The purpose of guardianship is to ensure that the ward receives appropriate care and protection when they are unable to make decisions for themselves.

Types Of Authority That Guardianship Provides

When someone is appointed as a guardian, they assume the role of decision-maker for the ward, and it provides them with the following types of authority:

  • Legal authority: A legal guardian has the right to make decisions regarding the ward’s care, including medical, financial, and legal decisions.
  • Personal authority: The guardian has the power to make decisions about the ward’s daily-life decisions like where the ward lives, what they eat, and who they socialize with.
  • Financial authority: Guardians can manage the ward’s finances, including banking, investments, and property.
  • Medical authority: Guardians can make decisions regarding the ward’s medical treatment.

Before making any decisions, the guardian is expected to consider the ward’s best interests. The court will monitor the guardian’s actions regularly to ensure the ward’s wellbeing.

Understanding guardianship is crucial for people looking to take care of parents when they are unable to do so for themselves. Remember that guardianship is a significant responsibility that should only be considered after careful consideration and with the advice of an attorney.

When Is Guardianship Required

When a parent is unable to make decisions:

Guardianship is a legal process that assigns decision-making authority over someone who cannot make decisions on their own. When a parent is unable to make their own decisions, either due to age-related conditions like dementia or alzheimer’s, or a catastrophic injury, guardianship may be required to ensure their wellbeing and safety.

Importance of guardianship in such situations:

When a parent is unable to make decisions, the importance of guardianship cannot be overstated. Without it, decisions may fall into the hands of unsuitable individuals or organizations, putting the parent’s safety and wellbeing at risk. With guardianship in place, the appointed guardian can make decisions about the parent’s care, finances, and living arrangements, ensuring the best possible outcome for the parent.

Bullet points:

  • Guardianship is essential to safeguard a parent’s safety and wellbeing
  • Without guardianship, decision-making might fall into the hands of individuals or entities not fit to handle the responsibility
  • The appointed guardian can make decisions about the parent’s care, finances, and living arrangements, ensuring positive outcomes

Remember that guardianship is not something that should be taken lightly. It should be pursued with the best interests of the parent in mind. With carefully considered decisions and responsible choices, guardianship can provide peace of mind for families during difficult times.

Understanding The Legal Requirements

Getting guardianship of a parent is a considerable responsibility that requires careful consideration and legal involvement. This process involves understanding the legal requirements, factors that are considered, and financial considerations. Here is a brief guide outlining the steps required to obtain guardianship of a parent.

Legal Steps Involved In Acquiring Guardianship

To obtain guardianship of a parent, you need to go through a legal process. The legal steps involved in acquiring guardianship are as follows:

  • File a petition: File a petition with the court that is located in the area where your parent resides. This will initiate the legal process of guardianship.
  • Attend a court hearing: Attend a court hearing with your parent to declare why guardianship is essential and that your parent is not capable of managing their affairs.
  • Obtain medical records: Collect and provide medical records that declare your parent is not competent to manage their financial or medical affairs.
  • Background check: Obtain a background check and provide it to the court to show that you are not disqualified from serving as a guardian.

Factors That Are Considered In Such Cases

The court will consider various factors before granting guardianship of a parent. These factors include:

  • Physical and mental state of the parent: The court will consider the physical and mental health of the parent to determine if they require a guardian.
  • Relationship with the parent: The court will consider your relationship with the parent and whether you are suitable to become their guardian.
  • Parent’s preference: If your parent expresses a preference, the court will consider it before granting guardianship.
  • Existing relationship: The court will consider the existing relationship between the parent and any other family member or appointed caregiver.

Financial Considerations In Acquiring Guardianship

Guardianship can be an expensive and financially demanding process. Here are some financial considerations to keep in mind:

  • Legal fees: Legal fees for filing a petition and appearing in court can be an expensive process.
  • Ongoing expenses: Once guardianship is granted, the guardian has ongoing responsibilities, including managing the parent’s finances and paying for expenses.
  • Estate planning: A guardianship can impact your parent’s estate plan, and you may need to hire an attorney to help manage the parent’s assets.

Acquiring guardianship of a parent can be a challenging and complicated process. It is essential to understand the legal steps, factors that are considered, and the financial implications to make an informed decision. Consult with an attorney to guide you through the process and ensure you are fulfilling your responsibilities as a guardian.

Assessing The Situation

Identifying The Need For Guardianship

Before you decide to pursue guardianship of your parent, it’s important to assess the situation and determine whether it’s really necessary. Here are some key points to consider:

  • Is your parent able to make decisions for themselves, or have they become incapacitated in some way?
  • Are you concerned about your parent’s safety and well-being?
  • Have you noticed any signs of neglect or abuse?
  • Has your parent been diagnosed with a medical condition that affects their ability to make decisions?
  • Has your parent expressed a desire for you or someone else to make decisions on their behalf?

Understanding The Parent’S Wishes And Preferences

If guardianship is necessary, it’s important to consider your parent’s wishes and preferences. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Does your parent have an advance directive or living will that outlines their wishes?
  • Have they expressed their preferences to you or anyone else?
  • Are there other family members or friends who should be involved in the decision-making process?
  • Do you know what kind of care and assistance your parent would like to receive?

Identifying The Assets And Liabilities Of Both The Parent And The Proposed Guardian

Before you proceed with guardianship, it’s important to evaluate your own financial situation, as well as your parent’s. Here are some key points to consider:

  • What assets does your parent have, such as bank accounts, property, or investments?
  • What liabilities does your parent have, such as debt or outstanding bills?
  • What assets do you have, and how will you manage your own finances while serving as a guardian?
  • Have you considered the expenses associated with guardianship, such as legal fees and medical costs?

By carefully assessing the situation and considering your parent’s wishes, you’ll be better prepared to pursue guardianship and ensure the best possible outcome for everyone involved.

Legal Process

It’s never easy to see your parents getting older and needing assistance with daily tasks. However, when the time comes and it becomes necessary to obtain guardianship of a parent, it’s essential to understand the legal process involved. Here are the key points to keep in mind when seeking guardianship of your parent.

Obtaining The Required Paperwork From The Court

Before beginning the legal process of obtaining guardianship of a parent, it’s necessary to obtain the required paperwork from the court. This paperwork generally includes a petition for guardianship, citation, and notice of hearing. Depending on the state in which you reside, the paperwork’s specific requirements can differ.

To receive the correct paperwork, contact your local court clerk or attorney to ensure you have all necessary documents.

Filling The Appropriate Forms

Once you’ve obtained all necessary paperwork, you must fill out the appropriate forms. It’s important to fill out these forms with the utmost care and attention to detail, ensuring everything is accurate and correct. You may also want to reach out to an attorney for assistance in filling out the forms correctly.

Documentation Required For The Process

Along with the required paperwork, you’ll also need to submit documentation that proves your parent’s incapacity to manage their own affairs, making guardianship of your parent necessary. This documentation can include medical records, psychological evaluations, and more, depending on the circumstances.

Submitting The Forms To The Court

After all forms and documentation are complete, you’ll submit them to the court and await the hearing. During the hearing, you’ll need to present your case to the court and explain why guardianship of your parent is necessary. The judge will then make the final determination on whether to grant guardianship.

Ensuring the legal process is followed carefully and correctly is essential when obtaining guardianship of a parent. By obtaining the correct paperwork, filling out the appropriate forms, providing all necessary documentation, and presenting your case to the court, you can move forward with confidence and ensure your parent receives the care they need.

Alternate Options

How To Get Guardianship Of A Parent?

If you have a parent who is unable to take care of themselves, you may want to consider taking legal guardianship over them. It can be a difficult and emotional decision, but understanding your options can make the process much smoother.

Power Of Attorney

A power of attorney is a legal document that allows you to make decisions on behalf of your parent. It is important to note that the power of attorney has to be granted by the parent themselves while they are still mentally sound.

If your parent is already suffering from cognitive decline, a power of attorney might not be the best option.

Here are the key points to consider with a power of attorney:

  • A power of attorney allows you to make decisions regarding your parents’ finances, medical care, and living situation.
  • You will need to be named as the agent in the power of attorney document.
  • Your parent must be mentally competent when signing the document.


Conservatorship is a legal designation that gives you control over your parent’s finances and their personal affairs. It is a more complicated process than power of attorney, but it is necessary if your parent is unable to make significant decisions on their own.

Here are the key points to consider with conservatorship:

  • You will need to go to court to establish conservatorship over your parent.
  • Conservatorship gives you more control over your parent’s affairs than power of attorney.
  • Conservatorship can be expensive and time-consuming.

Public Guardianship

If none of the above options are viable, you may need to consider public guardianship. Public guardianship is usually reserved for situations where the parent has no family members who can assume guardianship or is unable to pay for a private guardian.

Here are the key points to consider with public guardianship:

  • The court will appoint a guardian to take care of your parent.
  • The guardian may not have a personal relationship with your parent.
  • Public guardianship can be costly and have limited options.

Taking guardianship of a parent is a difficult decision. It is important to research and understand all your options before making any choices. Power of attorney, conservatorship, and public guardianship are all viable options, but each has its own benefits and drawbacks.

Ensuring The Health And Safety Of The Parent

Guardianship of a parent requires a great deal of responsibility, especially when it comes to ensuring their health and safety. Here are some key points to consider, which will help you make informed decisions.

Identifying The Best Medical Care

When it comes to your parent’s health, you must take pre-emptive measures to secure excellent medical care. This may include finding a healthcare professional who can provide the necessary medical care your parent needs. Here are some beneficial tips to guide you:

  • Research and consult with a primary care doctor who can advise you on the necessary care and treatment your parent needs.
  • Find a geriatric specialist who has experience in managing conditions related to old age.
  • Ensure the medical facility you choose is reputable, licensed, and equipped with all the necessary medical equipment.
  • Opt for palliative care services to improve your parent’s quality of life.

Making Arrangements For Proper Day-To-Day Living

Providing day-to-day care and support is crucial for your parent’s overall well-being. Here are some tips to help you make the necessary arrangements:

  • Hire a caregiver who can provide assistance with the daily routines such as bathing, grooming, and housekeeping.
  • Seek the help of a financial planner to ensure financial security for your parent.
  • Consider home modifications like installing handrails, stairlifts, or wheelchair ramps. These modifications can help make your parent’s life easier and safer at home.

Ensuring Safety And Security

As a guardian, you must prioritize your parent’s safety and security. Here are some key points to consider:

  • Install safety features such as security cameras, door locks, and intrusion alarms to prevent unauthorized access to your parent’s home.
  • Ensure the location is safe and secure. Choose a neighborhood that is safe and relatively free from crime rates.
  • Install smoke detectors and fire extinguishers in the house to prevent fire hazards.

Becoming a guardian for your parent can be challenging, but with proper planning and taking the necessary steps, you can ensure your parent’s health and safety.

Financial Management

Managing The Finances And Assets Of The Parent

The financial management of a parent is a crucial aspect of guardianship. As a guardian, it’s your responsibility to ensure that your parent’s finances and assets are well-maintained, and their expenses are met.

Here are some important points to consider:

  • Create a budget: Keeping a track of the income and expenses is important to manage the finances effectively. Make a budget that includes all the necessary expenses such as medical bills, daily needs, utility bills, and taxes.
  • Set up a bank account: Having a separate bank account for your parent can help in preventing any confusion or financial complications. Ensure that you have access to the account and frequently monitor the transactions to prevent any unauthorized activity.
  • Be vigilant: Being financially responsible for another person requires constant vigilance. Keep a track of all financial statements, bills, and receipts, and make sure that your parent is not exploited by anyone.
  • Invest wisely: Depending on the parent’s age and health, you may want to consider investing in suitable options such as mutual funds or fixed deposits. Ensure that the investments are safe and provide sufficient returns.

Proper Allocations Of Resources For Care And Well-Being Of The Parent

Taking care of your parent’s well-being is an important part of guardianship. Proper allocation of resources can ensure that your parent receives the best possible care.

Here are some points to consider:

  • Medical care: Arrange regular check-ups and health screenings for your parent. Ensure that all medical prescriptions are followed, and medications are taken on time. Hire a caregiver or nurse if the parent requires constant medical attention.
  • Daily needs: Make sure that your parent’s daily needs are met, such as food, clothing, and shelter. Ensure that the living conditions are comfortable and safe for your parent.
  • Social activities: Encourage your parent to participate in social activities to prevent feelings of loneliness or boredom. Look for local senior citizen clubs, and set up regular visits from family and friends.
  • Emotional support: As a guardian, it’s essential to provide emotional support to your parent. Listen to their concerns, and ensure that they feel loved and valued.

By following these guidelines, you can ensure the well-being of your parent and provide a comfortable and secure environment for them. Remember, as guardians, it’s important to prioritize the needs of your parent and provide them with the care they deserve.

Frequently Asked Questions For How To Get Guardianship Of A Parent?

What Is Guardianship?

Legal authority over an individual allows making decision on their behalf. It is granted by a court.

Who Can Obtain Guardianship Of A Parent?

Adult children, siblings, or other close relatives who can prove the parent’s incapacity can apply.

What Are The Steps To Get Guardianship Of A Parent?

Petition for guardianship, notify interested parties, and attend a court hearing.

What Factors Are Considered By The Court When Granting Guardianship?

The parent’s mental and physical health, their wishes, and their relationship with the potential guardian.

How Long Does It Take To Obtain Guardianship Of A Parent?

The process can take a few months, ranging from three to six months, or longer depending on the situation.


Obtaining guardianship of a parent is a complex and emotional process that requires careful consideration and planning. Before any action is taken, it is important to consult with medical professionals, legal counsel, family members, and other relevant parties to ensure that the best interests of the parent are being served.

While the process may seem daunting, it is ultimately a necessary step to ensure that your parent receives the appropriate care and protection they need. Be prepared to navigate the legal and administrative requirements with patience and persistence, and don’t be afraid to ask for help when needed.

Remember, the end goal is to create a safe and stable environment for your parent to thrive in, and by taking the necessary steps to obtain guardianship, you are helping to make that a reality.

About Author (Marjorie R. Rogers)

The inspiring mum of 6 who dedicates her time to supporting others. While battling with her own demons she continues to be the voice for others unable to speak out. Mental illness almost destroyed her, yet here she is fighting back and teaching you all the things she has learned along the way. Get Started To Read …