Retirement Answer Man

There may come a time in your parents’ life (and in your own) when they begin to lose their agency. They may no longer have the ability to act upon their own path. Do you know what steps to take if that happens?

In this episode of Retirement Answer Man, we’ll investigate when, what, and how to take over when the time comes. Today, I have 2 guests joining me who will share their firsthand experience with the process of caring for a parent. 

Join me for the 4th installment of the Parent Project series. If you haven’t listened to the first 3 be sure to check those out when you’re done with this one. 

What does guardianship mean? 

Guardianship is a legal process used to protect individuals who are unable to care for their own well being due to incapacity or disability. The way it works is that the court appoints a legal guardian to care for a person who needs special protection. 

First, an attorney must petition the court, and then they must provide evidence as to why the person needs to have a guardian appointed. Then the court decides if the person is sufficiently incapacitated and also if the person requesting guardianship meets the guidelines. Listen in to learn whether having a power of attorney could eliminate the need for guardianship. 

Is there a better option?

Gaining guardianship over your parents or aging family members should be a last resort. Hopefully, your parents have planned ahead and made your situation a bit easier by setting up a legal plan including a power of attorney. Listen in to hear whether joint accounts, power of attorney, or a traunch would be the best course of action when the time comes.

Naomi Karp shares her experience

Naomi Karp is an attorney and longevity expert that has worked on longevity for over 30 years. Her work has focused on law, aging, and policy and has included research, advocacy, and legislative work. She specialized in elder abuse and cognitive impairment and she is now getting firsthand experience in the caregiving process by caring for her mother. Don’t miss out on learning from her expertise. 

What would you like to learn about elder care?

Family members make a significant portion of elder caregivers. There is so much to learn when jumping into a caretaker role, but it mostly requires on the job learning. Listening to stories from people like Naomi and Sarah can be extremely helpful and lessen the learning curve. Have you had to learn how to care for an aging family member? What is one thing you wish you had known before you started?



  • [1:30] What does guardianship mean?


  • [4:46] Naomi Karp has both the expertise and the personal knowledge of caregiving
  • [9:52] How do you take over your parents’ finances without being abusive?
  • [14:59] How to choose a power of attorney
  • [20:43] What kind of duty are you taking on if you become a guardian
  • [32:20] Check out the When I’m 64 podcast


  • [43:20] Sarah started noticing problems with both parents when her dad was hospitalized
  • [46:52] How to know when to take over
  • [50:42] Make sure your siblings and the doctors are on the same page
  • [54:40] Use their tax returns to help you identify their different accounts
  • [1:00:24] Hypotheticals can take you far
  • [1:02:44] Gaining power of attorney is so important
  • [1:09:05] What she wishes she had known
  • [1:13:44] Music is powerful for someone with dementia


Resources Mentioned In This Episode

Naomi Karp

When I’m 64 podcast


Rock Retirement Club

Roger’s YouTube Channel - Roger That

BOOK - Rock Retirement  by Roger Whitney

Work with Roger

Roger’s Retirement Learning Center

Direct download: RAM357.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am CDT