Does my aging parent need a guardianship or power of attorney?

Getting older has many advantages, but it also comes with concerns such as taking care of yourself as you do. While managing finances and medical care may be a normal part of life for an independent adult, the aging process can have a significant impact on a person’s ability to take care of these things.

For this reason, Delaware has established legal processes that help families and individuals handle elder care when a person is no longer able to take care of his or her own affairs. Depending on your situation, you may find it helpful to establish an adult guardianship or a durable power of attorney.

Establishing power of attorney

Establishing a durable power of attorney is a smart idea for planning ahead. No matter who you are, having a power of attorney in place can be helpful for future healthcare situations. For example, if your aging loved one faces the possibility of incapacitation due to an upcoming medical procedure or if you become incapacitated in an accident, a durable power of attorney designates someone he or she trusts to oversee financial and medical affairs.

Establishing a guardianship

On the other hand, disabilities often occur without individuals having plans in place. In these situations, it is possible to appoint someone to oversee medical and financial decisions through guardianship. Because guardianships are generally more disempowering than a durable power of attorney, families often follow this route after exhausting alternative options.

Whether you or an aging parent needs a power of attorney or guardianship will depend on the unique factors of your situation. Working with an elder law professional can help you determine your best options.



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