Noticing troubling signs that your parent’s cognitive abilities may be declining can cause a great deal of anxiety. At first, you may have thought that he or she just had a memory slip like everyone does, but over time, his or her actions may have caused you a great deal more concern. Eventually, you and your parent took a trip to the doctor, who diagnosed your parent with Alzheimer’s disease.
The diagnosis undoubtedly felt like a major blow to both of you. At the time, your parent may still have had enough cognitive ability to go about his or her daily routine without outside help. However, you now believe that it is not in your parent’s best interests to remain in control of his or her affairs.
If you want to handle your parent’s affairs, you need legal authority to do so. Typically, guardianship becomes necessary if your parent lives alone, cannot make rational decisions any longer and refuses help. If your parent agreed to have you take over his or her affairs early on, creating a power of attorney arrangement may have avoided the need for guardianship. If not, you will need to take legal steps.
The legal aspects of pursuing guardianship are necessary because it essentially removes a person’s right to handle his or her own affairs, which is not something to take lightly. As a result, you will need to file a petition with the court to request guardianship as well as provide evidence as to why you believe your parent has reached a point of incompetence. The court will likely not take just your word, and a court psychologist may determine the competency of your parent.
Even if the court does agree that your parent has reached a point of incompetence due to Alzheimer’s disease, it does not automatically assume that you are fit for the role of guardian. The court will look at various details to determine whether you would make an appropriate guardian.
You undoubtedly only want what is best for your parent, but proving that to the court can be difficult. As a result, you may want to ensure that you have an advocate on your side who could help you present your case to the court. An experienced Texas attorney could help you take the best course of action to protect your parent as he or she battles this debilitating disease.