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How can I declare guardianship for parent with dementia?

Mother has dementia. Had POA drawn up however it is not signed. Need to be able to handle business on behalf of mother.
Status: Open    May 16, 2016 - 07:00 AM

Dementia, Elder Law > Guardianship

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Expert Answers

May 17, 2016 - 10:56 AM

Guardianship is obtained through a legal process in your county probate court. It is best to involve a local attorney experienced in such matters. There will be paperwork to be filled out by a doctor who has examined the person attesting to their incapacity and necessity for guardianship. After it is obtained there is paperwork ongoing that will be required to be filed ensuring the person and funds are well taken care of.

May 17, 2016 - 11:42 AM

You will need to get an Expert Evaluation from a doctor as to her inability to handle her finances. You then make an application thorugh the Probate Court, giving notice to the necessary persons – her heirs by law. The Court then will set a hearing.

May 18, 2016 - 08:16 AM

Even though she has dementia, she may still have the mental capacity to sign the power of attorney. You will probably want to check with both a legal and a medical professional to confirm whether she has the requisite capacity to sign the document. If she does not, then your only option is to file for a guardianship/conservatorship in your local probate court. These types of matters are often referred to as "protective proceedings."


May 16, 2016 - 10:28 AM

You will have to see a lawyer. Make sure you have doctors who will verify her dementia. You will also probably want to get conservatorship at the same time. Hopefully all family members are on the same page. Transparency with them is critical.

May 17, 2016 - 01:41 PM

The first question is 'Does your mother have the competency to sign a power of attorney?' A diagnosis of dementia does not mean that she is not capable of delegating her right to act. Does she know who you are? Does she know basically what she owns? Does she want you to help manage her affairs? Those are some of the questions to ask.

I suggest going to an attorney to discuss the POA and guardianship. If the attorney believes she is competent to sign a POA then do that. If not, then file for guardianship. Also, ask her doctor for a letter to the probate court stating she cannot manage her affairs intelligently anymore. If the doctor refuses, then it is more likely that she can sign the POA.

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