Can a conservatorship help my incapacitated elderly parent?

If you have an elderly, incapacitated parent who is unable to make independent decisions, or you have a parent who is at a high risk of becoming incapacitated, you are likely under a great deal of stress. There are many decisions that must take place as you face the inevitable end of your parent's life. 

In the meantime, you must also face the day-to-day tasks and responsibilities of your own life and of your own family. There are many factors to consider, and you may lack the information you need to make the right decisions. Here is some information that can help you as you move forward in taking care of your aging parent.

What is a conservatorship?

In New York City, a conservatorship is one way that adult children of elderly, incapacitated parents can help take charge of decision-making in the family. In broad terms, a conservatorship is a way to handle affairs for a person who is no longer able to take care of him or herself. While it does not necessarily have to be an incapacitated elderly parent, this is one of the most common reasons for seeking a conservatorship. The affairs indicated in a conservatorship can include decision-making about and provision of basic physical necessities such as food and shelter. A conservator (the person invested with the power to make decisions on the incapacitated person's behalf) can also have the ability to make financial decisions.

Should I seek a conservatorship?

Seeking a conservatorship is an important and serious decision. In order to obtain a conservatorship, you must go through the court system, because it is a court-appointed legal arrangement. If your elderly parent is already incapacitated, and no advance planning took place, you should begin the process of seeking a conservatorship immediately. You must either petition the New York State Superior Court or the Surrogate's Court.

Clearly, this is a matter that requires the appropriate legal assistance. A qualified attorney who works with clients seeking conservatorships is your first step in helping your incapacitated parent. By having a consultation with a lawyer who handles these types of matters, you can gain valuable information about your options and next steps.

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