HOW DO I PROTECT MY ELDERLY PARENT’S RIGHTS?

My father is elderly and in very good health. He walks 3 miles a day and lives on his own. My 2 brothers and I want him to live as he wishes, but my sister is trying to have him put into a nursing home. She has taken him to various doctors who say he is incompetent but he’s not, he’s just old.

ANSWER

It is important that your father speak for himself so his physicians can thoroughly evaluate his competency. Your dad could sign a Power of Attorney to give you or one of your brothers the legal authority to make decisions on his behalf and that would usurp your sister’s wishes.

If your sister wishes to pursue placing your dad in a nursing home, she would have to file a Petition for Guardianship at the Circuit Court. You and your brothers could contest her Petition for Guardianship. When filing for guardianship, your sister would need to provide two (2) physician’s certificates certifying that your dad is not capable for making his own decisions. You and your brothers should be active in your dad’s medical care and provide any observations you may notice which will help his physicians determine his competency. If your sister eventually files a Petition for Guardianship, you and your brothers could contest the guardianship. At that point, the Court will likely appoint an attorney on behalf of your father who will act in your father’s best interests.