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Could your parent need a conservator or guardian?

It can be a humbling experience to see parents grow older. Over the years, you may have noticed them not having the same energy and drive they once had, and you could have seen them having to retire from their favorite hobbies as the physical woes of old age took their toll. While you may have felt a pang of sympathy for your parents in this type of situation, you may not have felt the need to step in and start taking care of tasks for them.

More recently, however, you may have had a growing concern over your mom or dad's ability to care for him or herself due to lapses in judgment or memory. This concern may be even greater if one of your parents has already passed, and your loved one lives alone.

How can you help?

If your parent's mental decline has not reached a serious point, but doctors have their concerns, you may want to talk to your parent about his or her estate plans. If Mom or Dad has not created plans that include a power of attorney, you may want to bring up this idea. By having a power of attorney appointment taken care of, you or another trusted individual can step in to handle financial decisions when your parent can no longer do so.

Of course, your parent's mental state may have already declined passed the point of having testamentary capacity, or the ability to create sound and binding legal documents. On the other hand, the capacity may be there, but you could have a particularly stubborn parent who refuses help even if he or she needs it. If so, you may need to take further measures.

What can you do?

Legal options exist for taking over your parent's financial affairs as a conservator and personal affairs as a guardian. If your parent does not want to appoint a power of attorney agent, refuses to enter a nursing home, cannot make sound decisions for certain areas of his or her life, or cannot make important health-related decisions, it may be worth your while to look into potentially taking the steps to gain control over your parent's affairs.

It may seem uncomfortable to take such action, but in some cases, it may prove necessary in order to ensure the safety and well-being of your parent. Consulting with a Colorado attorney could help you learn more about conservatorships and guardianships and determine whether either may suit your circumstances.

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