Your parent is aging, and the signs that they’re having problems handling their own affairs. You’ve offered to take over some of the more complicated tasks, but you need their power of attorney to do it. Your parent refuses to sign.
Is guardianship the next step? It may be. While it’s a difficult choice, you need to consider what’s best for your parent — even if it doesn’t make them happy.
Why the refusal to assign powers of attorney could be problematic
There are many ways to determine that it may be time for guardianship, but one of them is when a parent refuses to agree to a power of attorney despite clearly needing assistance managing their affairs. This could be a legal power of attorney, medical power of attorney, or both.
This is not an uncommon situation by any stretch. What it means is simple: Your parent does not want to give control to anyone else. Many people who could benefit from giving a trusted loved their power of attorney — maybe they’re showing early signs of dementia and it’s unclear how long they’ll be able to make these complex decisions — still don’t want to sign. They worry that someone else is going to take their decision-making power away from them before they’re ready.
Unfortunately, this can also mean that they’re not going to listen to anyone else, even when they’re clearly making choices that are a detriment to their life. A guardianship may be the only way to ensure that they have the help they may need when they need it most.
What you can do to take protective action
This is never an easy situation, for any adult child who is facing their parent’s inevitable decline. Talking the issue over with an experienced attorney can help you make the best decisions.