When you hear the word “guardianship” you may think of children. It seems to be the most common occurrence – a guardian caring for a child. However, guardians also assist adults with their daily lives. Having a stranger take on that guardianship role is not always the best solution, though. With the right estate planning, you can learn how to avoid a guardianship when better choices are available.
Sometimes individuals need help making legal and financial decisions or with health and safety issues. It’s possible an incapacitated person may need help with both. A guardian is someone who steps in to make those decisions for the person, who is called a “ward.”
If other arrangements have not been made, a court may have to appoint a guardian for the ward. Judges and the potential guardian are joined by others in a guardianship proceeding:
If a guardian is appointed, he or she files periodic reports about the ward’s condition and financial affairs.
However, people can avoid a guardianship by pre-planning.
It’s best for the “least restrictive form of guardianship” be set in place. Estate planning can offer easier, yet less expensive alternatives to a court-mandated guardianship:
Completing basic estate planning can help you and your family avoid a guardianship proceeding in the future.
John Mangan is an experienced Florida estate planning attorney who has been board certified in Wills, Trusts & Estates by the Florida Bar. At Law Offices of John Mangan, P.A., we help clients develop an estate plan that’s appropriate for their circumstances. Call us at 772-324-9050 to set up an appointment or use our Contact Form. With our office located in Palm City, we also assist clients in surrounding communities like Stuart, Hobe Sound, Jupiter, and Port St. Lucie.