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Guardianship: Providing plenary or limited aid

Your parent is aging quickly, and you worry that they no longer can accurately maintain their finances. Perhaps your parent’s hygiene or health is deteriorating, and you want to ensure that all aspects of their life are appropriately monitored. In a previous post, we discussed when your parent may need the appointing of a guardian. Now, we want to discuss the two variations of guardianship that Massachusetts offers families.


Obtaining plenary or limited guardianship

Plenary guardianship

Plenary guardianship ensures that your parent receives your care if your parent cannot make decisions or is medically incapacitated. If your parent suffers from severe Alzheimer’s or dementia, becoming a plenary guardian may give you and your parent the peace of mind in knowing that their health and financials lie in the appropriate, responsible hands. As a plenary guardian, you may make decisions regarding:

  • Where your parent lives
  • Hiring an assisted living professional
  • Financial considerations
  • Paying bills or creditors

Limited guardianship

If your parent does not require full-time guardianship, you may apply for limited guardianship of your parent. Perhaps your parent cannot make sound decisions in remembering a medically-ordered diet, or perhaps your parent can no longer verbally communicate. These instances may not require full-guardianship, but they do require an individual to aid in making some decisions. As a limited guardian, you may only have the ability to make decisions that a court allows after assessing your parent.

When your parent requires medical, financial or decision-making assistance, Massachusetts’ guardianship allows you to help through a guardianship application. If your parent can make sound decisions in some areas, you may wish to apply for as a limited guardian. Know that if your parent becomes incapacitated, you have the ability to care for them in all life elements through an application for plenary guardianship.

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Guardianship: Providing plenary or limited aid | Center For Elder Law & Estate Planning