Good planning can help many people avoid guardianship altogether. An attorney can help you explore many alternatives to guardianship.
Durable Power of Attorney
A Durable Power of Attorney ("DPOA") document can be an effective alternative to guardianship. However, there is no standard form for a DPOA, and the terms can vary widely. A DPOA can cover health care or finances or both, and it can be temporary or "durable," enduring through a disability. A DPOA can be limited and it can have an expiration date. An attorney can help you draft a DPOA which exactly expresses your intentions. There are sample DPOA forms on the Internet, but executing a DPOA (or any other estate planning document) can have unintended consequences, so I encourage you to get legal advice before signing a DPOA.
If you are a health care provider and have questions about a DPOA document, as long as our office does not have a conflict, I will happily review the DPOA document at no charge.
Our office drafts DPOAs and Health Care Directives. We would be happy to answer your questions or to help you with these documents.
A trust is a separate legal entity set up by a person during his or her lifetime. Because a Trust is its own entity, its "lifespan" can exceed that of a single person. A Trust can exist even after the "trustor" (creator) becomes disabled or dies. Therefore, a trust can often help avoid the need for a guardianship.
There are several types of trusts, and there are no standard forms. There are state and federal laws which apply to trusts. An attorney can draft a trust which exactly expresses the trustor's intentions and which complies with the law. Trusts are not appropriate for most people. If you do not need a trust, a trust can be overly complicated and burdensome. There are sample trusts available on the Internet, but I strongly urge you to consult an attorney before executing a trust agreement.
If you are a trustee (administrator) of a trust, an attorney can help you interpret the trust language and comply with your duties.
Our office drafts and helps to administer some types of trusts. If you have question about a trust, please call. If we can't help, we will refer you to someone who can.
Many people have limited income and simple costs of living. For those people, a professional payee service may be an alternative to guardianship of the estate. Payee services can handle private funds, Social Security income, Veterans Administration income, and other income. Our office would be happy to refer you to a payee service if this is a good alternative for you.
These are just a few alternatives to guardianship. I would be happy to discuss all the alternatives with you.