How estate planning can help people to avoid involuntary guardianship

On Behalf of | May 24, 2023 | Estate Planning

As people get older, they often become more dependent on support from others. Eventually, many older adults require the regular support of friends, family members or professional caregivers to meet their basic needs.

Guardianship is one of the ways that the state helps to ensure that older adults have the support they require if they experience cognitive decline or similar issues as they age. Although many guardianships are truly necessary, there are also occasionally scenarios wherein those who seek authority over someone’s medical decisions and financial matters have selfish personal interests in mind rather than the best interests of a struggling older adult.

For some individuals, avoiding an involuntary guardianship is a top priority. Engaging in estate planning long before cognitive decline affects their capacity could help someone to avoid guardianship later on.

Powers of attorney let someone select who will assist them

If an individual ends up in a coma because of a medical emergency or experiences cognitive decline and is no longer capable of making choices in their own best interests, family members or even caregivers at a medical facility could seek a guardianship to help ensure proper management of their financial assets and adequate medical support or a struggling older adult.

If someone has durable powers of attorney in place when rendered incapacitated, the person or people that they empower will get to manage their financial and medical matters as outlined in their documents. Power of attorney paperwork can retain its authority until someone dies, and the estate plan will take over control of someone’s matters after their death.

Powers of attorney are, therefore, very valuable because they allow someone to choose the person who will take care of them and their affairs when they can no longer handle such matters on their own. They are also useful because they allow people to provide clear instructions about their priorities and wishes.

Thorough estate planning can help people to preserve their assets, maintain financial stability and receive appropriate medical care even when they are unable to speak on their own behalf. Therefore, seeking legal guidance sooner rather than later is generally a good idea.