How to Use Estate Planning to Avoid a Guardianship Proceeding when an Elderly Parent is Involved
By Jeff Wagoner, W M Law President
Recently I had a potential client contact me about getting a guardianship for her mother whose mental state was beginning to deteriorate. The daughter was concerned that her mother’s failing mental health would lead her to forget to pay the mortgage loan on her house or to pay the insurance or make other financial mistakes. So, the daughter thought the best option was to obtain a guardianship over her mother. But, a guardianship is a pretty drastic measure. It involves a hearing to convince a judge that the guardianship is necessary. It also requires annual reporting. Sometimes a bond is required. So, how can we avoid that?
In this case, the daughter was worried also because the mother was getting belligerent and uncooperative with her. I recommended that while her mother is still mentally competent (so it needed to be done right away) that we should do a an estate plan, which includes a Financial Power of Attorney and a Healthcare Power of Attorney. With these two documents, the daughter could accomplish nearly everything that a guardianship order would allow her to do. With regard to the mother’s becoming belligerent, it is true that a […]