Many of us have moved from home and have ageing parents at a distance. This distance does not impact our love or concern. We stand ready to fly in and provide care and attention in the event of the inevitable needs or challenges associated with ageing. Beware of vermin lying in wait for good intended children endeavoring to attend to parents at a distance! Specifically, as I have personally experienced over the last six years with my Mom and Dad several states away in N. C. from which hopefully you can avoid problems associated with long distance guardianship or probate.
Let’s talk guardianship first. Note to self, do everything possible to avoid guardianships! It’s like a never ending colon examination without anesthesia! To explain, the “Clerk of the Court,” who is generally elected, is by statute delegated the responsibility of administering guardianships. Subsequently, the politically minded Clerk delegates this responsibility to career “Assistant Clerks” who have their independent political fiefdoms that the Clerk depends upon for re-election. These “Assistant Clerks” have three general thoughts: 1) if you are not part of the local voting populace, you are an idiot and a headache. The only solution for your stupidity is hiring an attorney that knows the Assistant Clerks and kisses her (usually women) ring; 2) they are intoxicated with the power to bust your chops; and 3) they have already made up their minds that you, as a guardian, are planning to steal from your parents. Consequently, irrespective of your education or experience, if you try to save money or time by attempting to personally complete their purposely confusing forms, you will likely conclude that their mission in life is to make you feel stupid and inadequate.
Advice: first, pray your parents never need a guardianship. Consider moving them into a nursing home if that’s what it takes to avoid being a guardian. Second, be sure your parents have current “durable powers of attorney” that can help you avoid guardianship. Third, get humble and recognize “home court rules” and be prepared to hold your tongue and bow down to the Assistant Clerk. Don’t get uppity thinking that you have rights and everything is right or wrong at the local court house. If you are not part of the voting electorate you will be amazed at what a “nothing” you really are. Your only recourse to a perceived injustice is to appeal to a judge, who also depends upon the Clerk, to schedule his or her vacation time. Ask the Assistant Clerk who kisses her ring (would not advise using that language unless you want to be held in contempt) and can be counted upon to keep you out of the administrative dog house. Finally, keep your sense of humor because if you get inducted into the “facts are stranger than fiction” club you need to at least get some entertainment from the legalized screwing.
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