Estate Planning and Elder Law
Social Security Appeals
As parents age, adult children begin to worry about what will happen if the roles of parent and child reverse and they have to help their parents take care of their lives and finances. If the family engages in a frank discussion about powers of attorney and advance health care directives or revocable living trusts (all of which Cox and Cox can assist in drafting), plans can be made that will protect the parents’ independence as long as possible and provide for possible needed assistance in the future.
But when a parent is suddenly incapable of living alone, or has lost the ability to properly handle their money, it is time to consider guardianship proceedings so that someone can be appointed by the court to help with making living and health care decisions. A conservator may also be appointed to assist with making financial decisions, paying bills, and providing for protection of the parent’s assets.
Those legal proceedings are ones with which Cox and Cox is very experienced. At a free initial consultation we assist the family with explaining what is required in finding an individual to be incapacitated and in need of the protections of guardianship and/or conservatorship. We also provide additional information on how to conserve family resources in case of catastrophic medical or nursing home expenses and assist families in setting up family care agreements, filing for guardianship and conservatorship, and discuss our fees.
As handicapped children become adults at age 18, they gain the personal independence of any adult. The law assumes they are competent to have their own responsibility for their school records (so they become unaccessible to the parents), and they can enter into binding contracts and keep their health care private. They are considered to be responsible for their own health care and some hospitals and most mental health facilities will deny access based the parents’ decisions.
Cox and Cox has vast experience in assisting families with providing legal services in filing for a court order of guardianship which will open the door to a parent’s continued care and involvement in the legal life of the handicapped "child" who is now an adult. Standby guardians can be identified and given the responsibility to become qualified as guardian as the parents age and desire to pass on responsibility for the handicapped adult. Our initial consultation is without cost.
For more information, please see our blog on guardianship, as well as 10 Tips for Parents.