When it comes to estate planning, you need to focus long and hard on guardianship. In short, this allows one person to make decisions for another, such as if he or she is incapacitated or disabled.
An example of this would be a person who is in a coma as the result of a serious accident or illness. Unless the person has a medical directive and durable power of attorney in place, the court will have no choice but to appoint a guardian who is staffed with the responsibility of making both nonfinancial and financial decisions.
Some of the many powers of a guardian include:
- Assuring that the person receives the proper medical care
- Making medical decisions
- Making financial decisions
- Submitting necessary updates to the court on the person’s current condition and outlook
It’s important to note that a guardian is not expected by the court to micromanage every aspect of the person’s life. A guardian has the power to make decisions and provide consent, such as in situations related to medical care and finances. However, they’re not expected to provide caretaker services.
If you’re in the process of creating an estate plan, you’ll want to learn more about guardianship and what could happen in the future should you be unable to make decisions as the result of your incapacitation.
By creating the right type of legal documents, such as a durable power of attorney and medical directive, you can feel much better about the future. This will give you peace of mind in knowing that you will receive the right treatment, all the while someone you trust is handling your financial affairs.
Source: FindLaw, “Guardianship of Incapacitated or Disabled Persons,” accessed Oct. 04, 2017