What is Guardianship?
Guardianship is a legal arrangement that appoints a person to care for another. The guardian (or agent) is responsible for handling your affairs for you should you become incapacitated. When a guardian is appointed for another adult, they typically handle medical and personal decisions.
A guardianship of property generally handles financial decisions and obligations regarding the property, such as collecting rent, paying taxes, and more. Guardianship of both a person and property means that the same person is obligated to oversee personal and medical decisions as well as oversee the financial interest in the property.
Guardianship ad litem refers to an agent or guardian acting as an assistant to appear in court on your behalf and protect your rights.
What is a Power of Attorney?
There are many tools to utilize when forming a comprehensive estate plan. Power of attorney is one of these essential resources that you can take advantage of to help plan for an unknown future for both you and your loved ones.
A power of attorney allows for fewer questions during the most trying times in a family by stipulating your wishes while you are of sound mind. Setting a plan can also help avoid disputes between family members when emotions are running high. These resources also enable you to remain in the driver’s seat for future decisions, even when you are no longer able to make them.
There are several options for power of attorney that you can set up. Read on to learn more.
Options for Power of Attorney
A medical power of attorney is common and allows for you to determine on paper exactly how you wish to be cared for in the future, enlight of an accident or serious illness that leaves you incapacitated. Do you want a feeding tube? What other measures do you wish to accept or decline if your health requires it? These items can be stipulated in your power of attorney documents and looked over by the agent tasked with ensuring your plans are followed.
A durable power of attorney, sometimes called a financial power of attorney, is also common. An agent with a durable power of attorney is typically tasked with ensuring your business affairs are taken care of. Should you need someone to write checks, open bank accounts, oversee investments you may have, and more, a durable power of attorney may be an excellent option for you.
A springing power of attorney activates once an event has occurred, such as a significant medical or physical disability. Disability may occur following an accident, for example, and the springing power of attorney duties would begin.
A general power of attorney can handle specific banking or other financial decisions if you become incapacitated. An appealing characteristic of this power of attorney is you can typically get very specific about how you want certain situations handled when necessary, helping to ensure family members aren’t in dispute regarding your financial affairs.
Which Option is Best For Me?
Each family is different and will have different needs. By having both resources in place, you can ensure that there are no gaps in the plans that you have set forth and nothing is slipping through the cracks when you aren’t able to oversee things any longer.
For example, suppose you or a loved one had a stroke and is no longer able to make important financial decisions or handle primary everyday care for themselves. The durable power of attorney can step in and handle financial affairs while the guardian can ensure basic needs are met and more. The two can work together and delegate tasks appropriately.
Consider the Alternative
Without direction in place regarding your care, your family will likely need to get an attorney involved and go to court to ensure they have access to your financial information or make medical decisions on your behalf. Consider that during this time, they are also trying to accommodate a significant shift in your health and carry on with how life looks now rather than what life was as they knew it. A considerable change can mean that home care is now necessary, all financial decisions will now fall on a loved one, and more.
By putting a few resources in place, you can allow them some breathing room during trying times and help paint the picture of how you wish things to be handled, rather than leaving them up to your loved ones to figure out and possibly dispute over.
Plan for the Unknown
It can be humbling and scary to try to plan for the unknown. Working through tough questions such as how to handle life-saving measures or important financial decisions can feel daunting, but it doesn’t have to be.
Setting specific resources in place can allow you to find peace of mind knowing that you have planned for the unknown and are helping your loved ones to have fewer questions or confusion should something happen to you. Estate planning helps you to continue to care for your loved ones long after you are gone and allows you to remain in control of how you want medical, financial, and other decisions handled if you are no longer able to handle them yourself.
With decades of experience, we have helped countless clients and their loved ones to form a solid plan that all relevant parties can rely on during highly emotional times in our lives. Call our office today at (917) 920-6437 to learn more about the resources available and what may make the most sense for you and your loved ones moving forward.