Guardianship, Power of Attorney, and You

Guardianship, Power of Attorney, and You

Everyone cares for someone else, no matter how independent we think we really are. While the scenarios are different, it always revolves around looking out for family, and family looking out for you. You might have children, or adult relatives with disabilities who can’t care for themselves. You might have elderly parents, or all of the above. What matters is making sure they have the best life possible – even if you aren’t around to provide it for them.

When people think about elder law and estate planning, they usually think of courtroom drama and legal battles over the contents of a will. While this is certainly a big part of estate planning, an elder law lawyer can do much more than just protect your legacy and make sure your beneficiaries get the right heirlooms.

As an elder law lawyer can explain, another aspect of estate planning and elder law is establishing guardianship and power of attorney. It’s important to take whatever steps are necessary to ensure your family is looked after in the event of your death: Read on to learn more about what guardianship and power of attorney entails, and how an elder law lawyer can help.

Guardianship

Guardianship is relatively straightforward, and it’s exactly how it sounds. When you plan guardianship for a family member, it means that family member can’t care for themselves and you want them to be in good hands if you’re no longer able to care for them. This can apply to children, adults with disabilities, and elderly relatives such as parents or grandparents.

There are two different types of guardianship. The type most commonly thought of is referred to as guardianship of the person. This means you name a guardian (usually another trusted family member) to assume responsibilities of care for the person you’ve been caring for. For example, if you have children and you die suddenly, the person you’ve named as their guardian will take over and raise your children, providing them with shelter, food, clothing, and anything else required to ensure they’re given the best future possible.

The other type of guardianship is referred to as guardianship of the estate. A guardian of the estate is concerned with finances, controlling the income or taxes of a certain individual until a certain date. If we look at our previous example, a guardian of the estate could be in charge of your children’s finances until they turn 18.

Guardianship means you want your family to be well looked-after after your death. But what about you? If you’re somehow injured or no longer able to handle your own affairs, you’ll need someone to look after you. And you’ll want to make sure that someone is a person you can really trust. That’s where power of attorney comes in.

Durable Power of Attorney

Durable power of attorney is almost like giving someone guardianship and putting yourself in their care. An individual granted durable power of attorney is allowed to make decisions on your behalf regarding your estate and your finances – so make sure you can really trust them.

If your family has a history of mental illness, Alzheimer’s or dementia, granting durable power of attorney makes a lot of sense. And even if your family doesn’t have a history of these debilitating problems, you can grant someone durable power of attorney in case you’re severely injured or disabled as a result of a sudden accident.

Get in Touch with an Elder Law Lawyer Today

An elder law lawyer can help you plan out guardianship or power of attorney. Planning your future isn’t easy, but it’s worth planning nonetheless – and with the right legal team at your back, it will be simple and easy peace of mind.