If you have been a reader of our newsletters and blog articles for any period of time, you know we offer many solutions to avoiding probate. However, you should be equally concerned with avoiding conservatorship, for many of the same reasons.
If you have ever gone through the conservatorship process for a loved one, you will know why you want to avoid it for yourself. It is just plain nasty. It pushes your medical condition into the public domain where anyone wishing to, can dig into your secret medical information. It can also create arguments and divisions within your family if someone were to dispute the conservatorship, and these often are irreparable. For these reasons, and many more, you will want to do what you can to avoid it altogether.
A court will establish a conservatorship for you to manage both your medical and day-to-day needs. This is a conservatorship of your person. The court can also establish a conservatorship over your financial affairs. This is a conservatorship of your estate. Oftentimes, when a conservatorship is needed, the court will appoint a conservator to manage both your person and your estate.
There are a few things you can do now before the need for a conservatorship arises, because when that happens, it is too late. First, you will want to establish a general durable power of attorney. This is a legal document where you appoint someone you trust to act on your behalf to manage your financial affairs when you are not able to do so yourself. This is similar to having a conservatorship over your estate and thus limits the need to have one appointed.
Second, you will want to establish your advanced healthcare directive and HIPAA authorization. These legal documents will grant someone the ability to make medical decisions on your behalf when you are unable to do so, and will be based on your advanced instructions. This also limits the need for a conservatorship of your person.
There are many considerations, and we can help you establish this part of your estate plan. You’ll be happy you did, and just as important, your family will be thankful you as well!
Do You Have Adult Children?
We bet you are accustomed to making medical and financial decisions for your children. However, if they are 18 or older, you no longer have that authority. If something happens to them, you will either need a court order (conservatorship), or they will have had to plan beforehand. If they are “new adults” they likely don’t realize this on their own, so this is where you need to step in even though they are “all grown up”.
Those documents we just discussed above, will be needed for them as well. That 18-year-old high school senior still living in your home will be in a tough place if you need to race to court to get a conservatorship granted.
A little planning will go a long way, and we can help. Give us a call so we can help your kids make the right decisions to protect their future.