Question: What happens to the spouse when a guardian is appointed? Specifically, my mother can no longer care for my stepfather. He had a stroke and it has taken a toll on her. If the court appoints a guardian, will the guardian take away my stepfather’s income? My mother cannot survive without his income.
Answer: That is a difficult question because a lot could happen, depending on the circumstances. The guardian must use your stepfather’s income for your stepfather’s benefit, but to the extent your mother and he share living expenses, what helps him can also help cover your mother’s costs. If he has to move to a nursing home, the Medicaid rules have protections for spouses. So, if your mother’s income is low – which it sounds like it is – she will be able to keep some or all of her husband’s income. These are the general rules. You will have to consult with a local elder law attorney for specific answers to your mother and stepfather’s situation. (It’s better not to wait until the last minute if possible.)
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