For children and adults who are no longer able to care for themselves, a guardianship allows someone else the legal authority to make decisions for them and to manage their affairs. But filing for guardianship is not always ideal for both parties. Guardianship may take away too much power from the ward and with mandatory reporting and various other responsibilities, may prove to time consuming for the guardian. The good news is that there are other alternatives that may be just right. Some options are available for individuals who wish to plan ahead, and some options are available only after the situation has progressed to where there is a current need.
Power of Attorney
A power of attorney is essentially a less strict version of a guardianship. Powers of attorney give an individual legal authority to handle the incapacitated individual’s daily financial dealings. Powers of attorney can give the individual full range and those with power of attorney must often receive permission in certain instances. Additionally, for those who do not want all of the responsibilities of a guardian, a power of attorney does not need to report to the court.
For individuals who are getting to the point where they are no longer able to make medical decisions for themselves, it is often a good idea to create a medical power of attorney. A medical power of attorney is a document that dictates what should happen in the event that you can no longer make medical decisions. This includes things such as whether or not you should remain on life support when in a coma, or whether or not they should try to resuscitate you in certain situations. A medical power of attorney gives you the opportunity to be as specific with your care and preferences as you so desire. A directive to physicians addresses those instances when you are terminal and incapacitated.
What Makes Sense for Me?
If you have decided that you can no longer care for yourself in some manner as you once did (e.g. making medical decisions or managing your property), it is important to make arrangements to have these interests taken care of by someone else close to you. If you are unsure as to which makes the most sense for you and your specific situation, a knowledgeable and experienced estate planning attorney can help you to figure out the right decision for you. If you have a family member that didn’t plan and you are considering a guardianship or other alternative, we can help you in your process. For more information call us today. We can help you decide what is best.