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any complications from having co-guardianship?
Old 02-08-2020, 08:30 AM   #1
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any complications from having co-guardianship?

My brother and I are in the early stages of taking my dad to court to get him declared incompetent.

Dad and I are in the same city although 25 miles apart.
My brother lives 1500 miles away.

Ideally my brother would be named guardian and we'd move dad into a facility within a mile of my brother (Dad used to live there for 15 years and lived in the area for over 45 years, so depending on his memory its not like moving him to Mars).
Primary drivers of moving dad are:
* facility costs are significantly (almost half) cheaper there for a very nice place (my MIL is already in the same facility)
* geographically separating dad from a home health aid that is exploiting him
* and lastly the small matter of Dad telling case workers he never wants to speak to me again. (Although he may turn against my brother too since my brother has to be part of the court proceedings).
* Dad has a wider circle of friends/family in the region that could visit.

As a backup plan to not being able to move Dad to my brothers, I would need to be the guardian.

Is there any complication to have two people named "co-guardians"?
ex. does it get in the way because some place will require signatures etc from BOTH?
Is it better to name one of us guardian and then go back to court to change guardians if we get dad moved?

I'll be googling (and I have hired an elder law atty), but there is nothing like first hand experience and this place is a little like Lake Wobegon "where everybody is above average"

Thanks for any insights.

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Old 02-08-2020, 11:46 AM   #2
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My attorney had advised against my sister and I being co-guardians. IIRC the reason was that we would both have to sign documents, attend court proceedings, etc. So, I became the guardian and my sister became a "stand in guardian". My understanding was that allowed my sister to act as mom's guardian in the event that I was not available or able. We thought that was important since I travel. However, we never had a situation where that came into play.

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Old 02-08-2020, 12:39 PM   #3
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I don't have any experience with this or advice other than to consult an elder law attorney, and you already have.

You are in a difficult point in your life and I think your dad is fortunate to have two children looking out for his best interests, even though he may not realize it.
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Old 02-08-2020, 04:26 PM   #4
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After discussing with the elder law attorney I'd simply note that it is rare that two people will agree on everything so having one as primary and one as secondary sounds like the better idea.

That said, geographically separating him from the home health "aide" that is trying to steal from him would be an excellent move. When I was doing fraud investigations I saw some horror stories with family and acquaintances taking advantage of elderly people. And I'm sure I only learned of a small percentage of what was going on. Those were particularly frustrating cases because in many of them, despite having incontrovertible proof of the facts, they couldn't be prosecuted because the victim was not a credible witness because of their mental conditions or because the perpetrator had otherwise legal access to funds, such as with a joint account.
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Old 02-09-2020, 08:26 AM   #5
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From the standpoint of being a registered professional guardian I can concur with the statements above that if you have two guardians it can lead to issues when the two guardians disagree. It can also become complicated, though not often terrible, when one guardian has authority over the person and the other guardian has authority over the property.

If for instance the guardian of the person insist on placing the ward in a particular ALF but the guardian of the property refuses to execute the contract due to disagreeing with the decision, well, you can imagine how it can become a tug-of-war.

If you do go the route of having co-guardians I highly recommend that the orders of guardianship and the letters of guardianship clearly state that "either guardian may act independently of the other guardian." Without that clearly stated, financial institutions will often require both guardians to execute the various forms. That gets to be a headache with forms requiring a notary or medallion signature guarantee.
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