Estate planning involves making arrangements for things that will take place after you die. However, if you want to be comprehensively prepared you should also consider the interim that will precede your death. With this in mind let’s look at Indianapolis incapacity planning, guardianship and conservatorship.
Indianapolis Incapacity Planning
Representation in the Event of Incapacity
People often become incapacitated late in their lives. Approximately 45 percent of people who are at least 85 have Alzheimer’s disease according to the Alzheimer’s Association. This is an attention-getting figure in and of itself, but Alzheimer’s is not the only cause of incapacity.
Once you reach the age of 65 it is statistically likely that you will reach your 80’s. When you put these facts together you can see that it is quite possible that you may become unable to handle your own affairs at some point in time.
If you were no longer capable of handling things on your own the court could be petitioned to appoint a guardian or conservator to manage your affairs.
In some jurisdictions a guardian handles the affairs of a minor, and a conservator handles the affairs of an adult. In others a guardian handles personal decision-making, and a conservator handles financial decision-making.
In most states a guardian handles both types of decisions for an adult who is deemed incapable of handling his or her own affairs.
A guardianship can be a good thing when there is no other recourse. Well-meaning family members come forward seeking legal authority to act for a loved one.
However, there are potential drawbacks that go along with guardianship. For one thing, everyone in the family may not agree on all of the details. Different family members may vie for the position of guardian, and they may have differing points of view.
There is also the matter of time. Life will go on while a guardianship proceeding is underway. Until a decision-maker has been empowered by the court important matters may be left unattended.
Finally, the court may appoint someone that you would never have chosen yourself if you would have been in a position to name your own guardian.
Durable Powers of Attorney
You could avoid a guardianship altogether and choose your own potential future decision-maker by executing a legally binding document called a durable power of attorney.
This type of power of attorney would remain in effect even if you were to become incapacitated.
If you are proactive about naming your own decision-maker you do not have to worry about the court ultimately deciding your fate. Someone of your own choosing will be standing at the ready prepared to act on your behalf if it becomes necessary at some point in the future.
To learn more about guardianship, powers of attorney, and Indianapolis incapacity planning, contact our firm to request a free consultation.