Guardianships are drastic and very invasive. They strip individuals of their legal autonomy and establish the guardian as the sole decision maker, they should be put in place to protect and benefit the individual. To become a guardian requires strong evidence of legal incapacity, and approval by a judge, explains an article titled “Guardianships Should Be a Last Resort–Consider These Less Draconian Options First” from Kiplinger. They should not be undertaken unless there is a serious need to do so. Once they’re in place, guardianships are difficult to undo.
Reasons for Guardianship
If an elderly person with dementia failed to make provisions durable powers of attorney for health care and for financial matters before becoming ill, a guardianship may be the only ways to protect the person and their estate. There are also instances where an aging parent is unable to care for themselves properly but refuses any help from family members.
Another scenario is an aging grandparent who plans to leave funds for minor beneficiaries. Their parents will need to seek guardianships, so they can manage the money until their children reach the age of majority.
Laws vary from state to state, so if you might need to address this situation, you’ll need to speak with an estate planning attorney in the elderly parent or family member’s state of residence. For the most part, each state requires less restrictive alternatives to be attempted before guardianship proceedings are begun.
Planning in advance is the best solution for incapacity. Are you in the Greenwood or Indianapolis area? Book a call with Vick Law, P.C., an experienced estate planning attorney, to protect loved ones from having to take draconian actions to protect your best interests.
Reference: Kiplinger (July 7, 2022) “Guardianships Should Be a Last Resort–Consider These Less Draconian Options First”