Guardianship proceedings are called for when interested parties may suspect that an individual has become incapable of handling his or her own affairs. Should a guardianship petition be granted the person in question could become a ward of the state, and this individual may not have any control over who actually does make decisions in his or her behalf.
This in itself is unsettling to most people, and even if the guardian winds up being someone that you may have selected had you had the opportunity to do so the proceeding can be costly and troublesome.
Now you may think that you will always be able to make decisions and take the matter lightly as a result. But the fact is that people are routinely living into their mid-80s and beyond these days, and you may be somewhat surprised to hear that some 40% of people age 85 and older are suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. This disease causes dementia which can of course hinder the ability of a sufferer to make sound decisions.
One way that guardianship proceedings can be avoided is by placing assets into a revocable living trust. People who do this will often serve as their own trustee, but you could also include the selection of a disability trustee who would take over in the event of your incapacity. The execution of durable powers of attorney are also recommended as a way to avoid guardianships.
If you’re interested in learning more about incapacity planning, don’t hesitate to pick up the phone to arrange for a consultation with an experienced and savvy central New Jersey estate planning attorney.