Guardianship & Power of Attorney
Guardianship and power of attorney are both helpful tactics that can help determine an individual as a beneficiary or conservator to act on your behalf if you become incapable, which can directly affect an individual’s wellbeing.
Apart from this similarity Power of attorney and guardianship differ in how each process is carried out. With power of attorney, you are thinking long term. By thinking ahead, you have the option to choose who you want to act for you, as this can be involved in estate planning process.
Guardianship is primarily carried about by a court, instead of a lawyer and is most often due to unforeseen events or circumstances that have left an individual unable to competently make decisions. Unlike Power of attorney where you can choose your guardian, the court ultimately decides who will act as guardian.
Power of Attorney
For power of attorney to take effect, it needs to be established before it is relevant. For the power of attorney to be acknowledged the individual must be of sound mind.
Power of attorney can provide the incapable individual with absolute control about whom they dictate to make decisions for them if they are to become incapable. When an individual is named as your agent, you have total control in the decision-making process.
If you become incapable or unable to make decisions for yourself and do not have a power of attorney established, it will fall on the court to decide who will act as your guardian. This can cause a variety of issues as your ideal choice for a guardian may not be chosen to be your decision maker and involves a lot of time in court.
Guardianship involves court processes and more oversight. Once a guardian has been determined, the court oversees how the guardian carries out their duties. This can be a good thing because the individual has a second layer of protection but can also be a hindrance due to court intrusions into private matters.
Estate Planning & Late Stage Planning
Estate Planning is essential when it comes to protecting your assets and ensuring that a court does not need to get involved to divvy up your assets between any remaining beneficiaries.
Whether you are 30 or 65 it is hard to predict when you will need such protections like power of attorney or guardianship. By planning early, you are not only taking care of everything that you have worked so hard for, but you are protecting yourself by ensuring you can be cared for when you are no longer able to. For more information on estate planning services, please visit our main Estate Planning page.
If you have any specific questions or concerns regarding your own Will, Trust, Power of Attorney, Guardianship, or where to begin the Estate Planning process, please reach out to Attorney Andrew Bucklin at 781-632-8675 or contact him directly!