What Can I Do If I Don’t Have a Power of Attorney For My Parents and They Become Unable to Handle Their Affairs?

Unfortunately, many people find themselves in the position of wanting to help their elderly loved ones, but legally being unable to do so. If a parent failed to do any planning for their incapacity, it may become necessary to seek a guardianship.

Typically, when a person does estate planning, the attorney will prepare a power of attorney in additional to a Will and other legal documents. A power of attorney is designed to allow someone else to handle the person’s financial and legal affairs in the event of incapacity. If your parent is incapacitated physically in some way, they may still be able to execute a power of attorney. However, if the person is mentally incapacitated, it may be impossible for them to execute a legal document.

In that situation, a guardianship is required. A guardianship is a legal process by which a person petitions the court to be appointed guardian for a person. The person over which the guardianship is sought will be notified of the proceedings and will have the right to participate. Examination of the alleged incapacitated person by a doctor and appointment of an attorney by the court for him or her may be required. There is also a hearing at which both parties can testify and introduce other evidence proving that a guardianship is needed. Following the presentation of the evidence, the court will issue a ruling on whether or not the guardianship has been granted.

Guardianships are not quick or easy. However, they can be critically important in allowing a person to handle another person’s affairs. If you are located in New York, and you think you may need to obtain a guardianship over a loved one, call the New York Elder Law Attorneys at Friedman & Ranzenhofer at 716-542-5444 today. We have significant experience with Article 81 guardianships in New York. Contact us today.

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