There are many ways to protect your wishes in the event that you cannot articulate these wishes later in life. However, even with a plan in place, it is possible for people to find their loved ones in need of an advocate. Perhaps the person who was supposed to speak on your loved one's behalf can no longer do so, or maybe the plan your loved one put in place is no longer valid for some reason. Often, places such as care facilities or banks require decisions to be made for an individual, but simply being related to the individual is not enough to give you the ability to make those decisions. If you have a loved one that no longer has the capacity to make his or her own decisions, and needs someone to make these decisions, a guardianship may be the answer.
Guardianships can also help protect minor children (for example, a young child who inherits money and needs someone to manage that money) or adults with disabilities (for example, those who are technically old enough to be considered an adult, but who still need some help navigating decisions into young adulthood).
Guardianship is initiated through the courts and may be "of the person," "of the estate," or both. A guardianship "of the person" gives the guardian the ability to act and make decisions related to the individual (medical decisions, social decisions, etc.). A guardianship "of the estate" gives the guardian the ability to act and make decisions related to the individual's finances. Many times, a guardian will be both of the person and of the estate. The guardian does not necessarily need to be a family member or close friend; in fact, there are professional guardians who may be able to step in to serve as guardian for your loved one.
If you have questions about how a guardianship may look for your specific situation, we are ready to help. Contact us today to find out why we are #intentionallydifferent.