Lisa Galvan Law, PLLC Blog

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Resolving Senior Guardianship Among Family and Loved Ones

A recent piece in the Daily Tribune of Mt. Pleasant, Texas, tells an unsettling story of a family embroiled in a years-long conflict over the guardianship of a senior citizen incapacitated by a stroke.

Conflicts over the affairs of the senior, a local doctor, continued even after his death, with funeral and visitation delayed, perhaps indefinitely. Everything from power of attorney to decisions over the handling of the remains were up for discussion.

It is cases like these that highlight the need for families and loved ones to make guardianship arrangements early on for loved ones who are unable to make decisions on care and financial matters. Read on for tips on resolving guardianship issues with minimal conflict and emotional anguish:

Determine if Your Loved One Requires Guardianship

The question of whether a senior citizen requires guardianship or power of attorney is not as straightforward as it may seem. With dementia impacting more than five million Americans, families everywhere are grappling with questions of how to manage the affairs of a parent or loved one who is no longer able to think clearly or perform basic tasks. In these times, it is important to take a close look at laws pertaining to the guardianship of incapacitated individuals. In Texas, the legal definition of an incapacitated person is an adult who is unable to care for his or her health or attend to his or her financial affairs. In these cases, some form of guardianship is needed.

Locate any Power of Attorney or Advanced Directive Documents

Oftentimes, individuals will designate power of attorney or draft advanced directive documents that specify responsibilities over finances and medical affairs in the event of incapacity. Usually, the individual will notify family members and loved ones that these documents are in place. Still, it is a good idea to seek an attorney to help you locate any documents that may establish your loved one’s wishes.

Find Mutual Agreement if Possible

While courts will designate a guardian, this process is much faster and less trying for all involved parties if there is agreement ahead of time. Finding prior agreement on the management of finances and medical care of your loved one will help the court establish legal guardianship and responsibilities in an efficient manner. If conflict is inevitable, an attorney can help you protect your loved one and your ability to care for him or her in proceedings involving guardianship.

Find a Skilled Attorney

Establishing guardianship is not a simple process. Unfortunately, many senior citizens can live for years without proper medical and financial care due to disagreements and confusion about their legal status. By finding an attorney experienced in elder law, you can navigate this process with confidence, free from the severe stress and anguish that afflicts all too many families during an already difficult time.

At Lisa Galvan Law, we help families throughout the San Antonio area protect their loved ones through legal guardianship. Contact us today to speak with an experienced attorney about your case.

Lisa Galvan Law, PLLC is located in San Antonio, Texas and serves the following surrounding counties: Bexar County, Medina County, Comal County, Wilson County, Atacosa County, and Kendall County.

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