Do you care for elderly parents or relatives? Concerned that they are no longer able to care for themselves?
Deputyship, Receivership, Elderly guardianship, also known as elderly conservatorship is a legal relationship which occurs when a formally Court appoints someone to be a Receiver or guardian to manage and administer the property and affairs of an elderly person who is no longer able to care for themselves.
It is important to note that any such application should not be taken lightly and indeed, the Courts approach it with all caution. Your relative’s liberties and their right to make their own decisions are paramount and must be protected first. The physical, mental or emotional shifts and changes that come with age should not be interpreted to mean that your parent or relative is no longer “compos mentis”, that is, of sound mind
Who should apply?
Every jurisdiction has their own processes and requirements, however, there are some governing principles that generally apply. The prudent maintenance and welfare of the elderly person is the most important consideration The Courts typically will appoint an immediate family member, such as a spouse, an adult child, a brother or sister. That family member has to satisfy the Court that they are sufficiently responsible to act in the best interest of the elderly person’s welfare. In many cases, the appointment will be joint between two immediate family members, such as a spouse and an adult child, or two siblings. The Court will also have to be satisfied that other immediate family members have been notified of the application, and they will have an opportunity to respond.
Could an application be denied?
Of course. Every application should be looked at carefully before it is even filed. Your aging parent or relative may be exhibiting an inability to take necessary medications regularly, maintain regular hygiene, or properly manage finances, but this alone is not sufficient. For example, an application based on solely on needing to care for their health and welfare may be denied and would only be granted in special or urgent end of life circumstances.
Mental Health Act of Barbados
In Barbados, the application to be appointed Receiver over an elderly persons’ affairs falls under the Mental Health Act Chapter 45. The application has to be supported with medical reports and other evidence to show the person is incapable of taking care of their affairs by reason of a mental condition, such as dementia, thereby necessitating such an appointment. It is a thorough and rigorous examination of all the facts, as it should be. given the serous nature of the application.
Kaye A. Williams, Attorney-at-Law is the Principal of PineBridge Law. Do you have comments or questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org