In a perfect world, your parents would create thorough estate plans that spell out their wishes with regard to their health care, finances and similar matters. This does not always occur, though. Some aging adults never create advance directives, give others powers of attorney or otherwise set plans in place that help their adult children manage their affairs.

In these and other situations, you may need to establish a guardianship over your mother or father before you or another has any authority over your parent. Consider exploring the option when the following circumstances occur.

When your parent refuses to move to a nursing home

It is understandable that your mom or dad may want to live on his or her own as long as possible. In some cases, though, your parent may present a danger to his or herself living alone. If you know your parent is at risk and he or she refuses to move into a care facility, you may need a guardianship to start the process.

When your parent needs certain medical treatments

If your mother or father is unable to consent to certain medical treatments or procedures due to confusion or memory loss, you may need a guardianship before he or she may have them. The same may hold true if your parent needs certain antipsychotic prescription medications but is unable to consent to take them.

When your parent shows signs of diminished capacity

Unfortunately, some individuals take advantage of older populations. If you get the sense that your parent is signing documents or agreeing to terms he or she may not sign or agree to otherwise, it may be time to step in. You may also notice that your parent begins to lose decision-making capacity in some areas while retaining it in others. Under these circumstances, you may have the option of establishing a limited guardianship that allows your parent to maintain control over some affairs while relinquishing it over others.