How Do I Know When My Parent Needs a Guardian?

Many medical conditions can affect a person’s ability to make decisions on his own behalf.  Everything from drug addiction to brain damage from an accident to dementia can cause someone to be of unsound mind and unable to make informed decisions in his or her own interest. Unfortunately, many of the medical conditions that affect cognitive abilities become significantly more likely as people age.

If your parent has begun to experience mental health issues caused by physical or mental illness, this may be a sign your parent needs a guardian.  You will need to petition the court and prove incapacity if you want to become a guardian for your mother or father. The Las Vegas family law and estate planning lawyers at Pintar Albiston LLP can provide assistance if you find yourself in this difficult situation. Give us a call and we will help you to determine if guardianship is necessary, as well as provide assistance through the process of becoming a guardian.

How Do You Know When Your Parent Needs a Guardian?

Your parent needs a guardian if he or she has become “incompetent” and there is no power of attorney in effect.  Incompetent is defined by Nevada Revised Statutes 159.019 to include “an adult person who, by reason of mental illness, mental deficiency, disease, weakness of mind or any other cause, is unable, without assistance, properly to manage and take care of himself or herself or his or her property, or both.”

Being declared incompetent is very similar to being declared “incapacitated.” Incapacity applies when someone has a durable power of attorney agreement.  Nevada Revised Statutes Chapter 162A.070- Incapacity Defined provides a definition of incapacity applicable for purposes of power of attorney for financial and healthcare decisions.  Incapacity is defined as “the inability of an individual to manage property or business affairs because the individual has an impairment in the ability to receive and evaluate information or make or communicate decisions even with the use of technological assistance.”

If your parent has a power of attorney in effect, there is no need for a guardian because the durable power of attorney will kick in and the person named as your parent’s agent will be the one who can act on his behalf.  If your parent has no power of attorney in effect and is not able to look out for himself, your parent needs a guardian.

It is best to have a power of attorney agreement written before your parent becomes unable to do so, as the process of going to court and getting declared a guardian can be cumbersome and will require you to be subject to ongoing court oversight.  When you have a power of attorney agreement in place your parents have created, you can escape this legal hassle at at time when your parent needs your most. Your parent will also have a say in choosing who makes his or her decisions.

Pintar Albiston LLP provides assistance to those whose parent needs a guardian.  We can also help your parent to create a power of attorney. Give us a call today to schedule a consultation and learn more about the legal services we offer to ensure your loved ones are taken care of when they cannot take care of themselves.