Every day, residents in Massachusetts are faced with making the decision to protect a loved one from himself or herself. Whether they are protecting an incapacitated adult or minor children, family members will need some legal authority to act on one's behalf. Without such authority, a person's health and assets are vulnerable.
If an adult created an estate plan that included powers of attorney for health care and finances, his or her agent has the necessary legal authority to act as soon as that adult is declared incapacitated. Therefore, if an individual wants to maintain control over who will take care of these important issues on his or her behalf in the event that he or she is no longer able to, creating an estate plan is essential. However, if these documents do not exist, a family member can ask the Massachusetts courts to appoint him or her as a guardian and/or conservator to serve the same functions.