Guardianships and conservatorships are put in place for those that require representatives to manage their personal affairs. People that are debilitated or otherwise disabled, and as a result cannot make important decisions in relation to their care, financials, and other aspects of their life, might come under the care of a guardian legally. This relationship is arranged by court order, but often, debilitated individuals may have pre-screened their guardian through their will or by carried out by a durable financial POA and/or a durable POA for health care.
Deciding on a Guardian While Estate Planning
A lot of people choose to pre-select a guardian for themselves if they are debilitated or disabled. They may not trust the court to decide on the proper guardian, or they just might not want to risk such a case. Deciding on a guardian is typically a good idea because it guarantees that the right person would oversee the debilitated person’s personal affairs.
Having a legal will, a durable POA, and a medical directive, an individual can outline their specific wishes, limit, and appropriately define the powers of the guardian, and choose an alternate guardian to take the place of the initial guardian in the event the initial guardian cannot or declines to fulfill their role.
Questions to Think About When Deciding on a Guardian
When carrying out an estate plan (or a relative consenting to a court-ordered guardian), significant thought needs to be given to the below questions:
- Does the prospect have a reputation for honesty, integrity, and timeliness?
- Has the prospect ever been convicted of a crime?
- Has the possible guardian overseen their personal matters responsibly?
- Does the prospect have educational, professional, or business experience that imparts itself to the performance of the responsibilities of a guardian or conservator?
- Does the prospect have the time to commit to the required responsibilities?
- Is the possible guardian healthy?
- Does the prospect have a history of drug and/or alcohol abuse?
- Is the prospect likely to engender the respect, support, and cooperation of all persons impacted by their decisions?
- Should the ward be debilitated, did the ward previously specify their wishes as to who to appoint as their guardian?
- Even though not required, is the possible guardian related by marriage or blood to the ward, or are they familiar with the ward sufficiently to execute their probable objectives?
Common Considerations for Deciding on a Guardian
Generally, courts favor guardians that are closely related to the ward. It’s also important to be mindful that a lot of states don’t allow someone to serve as a guardian when they are a convicted felon. Guardians have the responsibility to make decisions in the ward’s best interest. If such decisions require reasonable cooperation with 3rd parties, the guardian must make bona fide efforts to work with those 3rd parties.
The guardian is going to be managing financial matters on behalf of the ward, from realty to stock investments, to paying living costs and bills. Therefore, it’s important that the guardian have the knowledge necessary to manage those assets and guarantee that the ward doesn’t amass excess debts throughout the period of debilitation or ailment.
Have Additional Questions Concerning Deciding on a Guardian? Inquire with an Attorney
Even though you might not feel that you need to, deciding on a guardian is a significant step in planning for your future. If you have questions concerning who you should choose as a guardian, or need assistance preparing any legal paperwork, it’s best to consult with an experienced estate planning attorney near you.
Ten things to think about: Choosing a Guardian. Findlaw. (2018, November 18). Retrieved August 23, 2022, from https://www.findlaw.com/family/guardianship/ten-things-to-think-about-choosing-a-guardian.html
Arizona Family Law
Naming guardians in your will can be part of your estate plan. You may think you’re too young or don’t have enough money to justify the expense, but if you have children, you have priceless assets. There are many considerations when naming guardians for your kids. However, the process doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated.
There’s nothing better than the peace of mind you will have knowing you’ve protected your family at a time when they need it most. Let us help. Schedule a consultation or contact Ogborne Law, PLC of Arizona today.