I have a friend (in US) who is estranged from his adult child. He is concerned that if, at some point in the future, he becomes unable to manage his affairs, that courts will presume this child has some special status or interest in issues such as health care and financial management simply because of the father-child relationship. Do his concerns have merit, and, if so, is there some instrument which can be used to eliminate that presumption? He has no confidence in the child's good will, and does not want the child to in any way gain control of his affairs.

  • 4
    A good start would be to set up powers of attorney, health care proxies, etc, naming some trusted person who isn't the child. Jul 10, 2021 at 4:09
  • 1
    Is the child their only child? Jul 10, 2021 at 5:39
  • @studoku No, there is a sibling and he has concerns about the one child mounting legal challenges about the way the other would manage his affairs.
    – blaze
    Jul 10, 2021 at 14:06
  • 3
    @blaze in American English insure means what ensure means in Rest-of-the World English - as well as what insure means.
    – Dale M
    Jul 10, 2021 at 22:33

1 Answer 1


Do his concerns have merit, and, if so, is there some instrument which can be used to eliminate that presumption?

His concerns have merit.

The usual tool is to execute powers of attorney and nominations of potential guardians and conservators for himself. These instruments have priority over the petition of an adult children if brought to the attention of a court, although that priority is not absolute and can be overridden if the court thinks that the person's nominees or POA agents are unfit, or if the court determines that the person executing them was not competent to do so or was under undue influence at the time of doing so by the persons named as agents or nominees.

If the adult child is given notice of these documents and later brings suit without alerting the court to the existence of these documents, the adult child will probably be sanctioned by the court.

But it is pretty much impossible to completely deprive an adult child of standing to file an action for protective proceedings (that will probably later be denied, but possibly only after harmful emergency orders are entered based upon a child's misleading representations) or to deprive an adult child of standing to challenge the fitness of the persons nominated to serve in those capacities.

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