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Should I be my parent's guardian?

If your parent can no longer manage his or her own care without help, it may be time to appoint a guardian. A guardian assists a vulnerable adult (also called the ward) in various tasks, from arranging health care to shopping for clothes and food.

This role is a responsibility one should not take lightly. As such, if you are considering petitioning the courts to be the guardian for your parent, you might first think about the legal and personal implications of this role.

Legal considerations to becoming a guardian

Guardianship is a legal appointment. To be a guardian in Colorado, you must be at least 21 years old. The courts will assess whether you are a good choice for the position based on factors like your credit report and criminal history.

As a guardian, you are responsible for making decisions for the ward and acting in his or her best interests. You must keep track of your time, maintain accurate records for expenses and file reports with the court.

If you do not fulfill these obligations, you can face sanctions and removal efforts.

If you understand and can comply with these legal components of guardianship, you may be a good fit for the role.

Personal considerations to becoming a guardian

Even if you meet the legal criteria for being your parent's guardian, do not overlook the personal elements of the job.

Your parent may not want a guardian to help with his or her decision-making. If your parent is resistant to guardianship in the first place, you could wind up fighting in court and struggling to provide the help you believe he or she needs.

If you have siblings, they could disagree with the decisions you make for your parent, which could create or amplify family conflict.

Of course, if there is no tension among your family members and your parent is open to guardianship, it can be a great relief to all parties to have you - someone they love and trust - filling this role.

Think about these elements before you decide for or against being your parent's guardian. It is a challenging role, but with the right person named as guardian, it can be an effective way to protect your parent as he or she gets older.

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