There are a large number of married couples in Massachusetts who assume that their spouse will be asked, by default, to make medical and financial decisions for the other. Unfortunately, many of these couples discover that this is not the case. Sometimes, a power of attorney isn't enough. Obtaining conservatorships can be time-consuming and expensive for those who aren't expecting to need it.
Many Massachusetts residents likely pride themselves on being independent and making their own decisions for their lives. While this ability is often cherished, it is not always one that individuals are able to maintain for the entirety of their lives. In many cases, elderly individuals or other adults become incapacitated, and guardianships become needed in order for decisions to be made.
Estate plans have a variety of uses, and many Massachusetts residents may only know the surface benefits of such plans. Though individuals can create wills to distribute property, they can also utilize their plans to address guardianships or conservatorships that may be necessary after their deaths. Addressing the need for such appointments ahead of time could prove crucial to many people.
For young parents in Massachusetts and elsewhere who are going through the estate planning process, trying to decide who will care for young children in the event of their deaths or incapacitation can be challenging. As difficult as it may be, appointing a guardian for minor children really is a must. This column will address how this can be done and what should be considered before making the ultimate decision.
Those individuals in Massachusetts and elsewhere who are appointed as guardians of adults have a number of responsibilities. After all, incapacitated adults depend on these individuals to make many important medical and personal decisions for them -- among other things, -- which is no small feat. What are some of the duties and responsibilities assigned to guardians, and are there any limits to their decision making powers?
Through illness, accident or disability, many Massachusetts residents are no longer able to care for themselves or their property. In these cases, family members or other trusted individuals might seek guardianships in order to take care of the incapacitated person (often referred to as the ward). However, the decision to do so should not be taken lightly since many of the ward's rights are taken away in the process.
Massachusetts parents who have special needs children typically reach a point where that child will reach the age of majority. At that point, parents can lose the right to make decisions on their behalf. Many of those parents look into the possibility of obtaining guardianships in order to continue caring for their children.
Most people in Massachusetts are aware of the uses and purposes of estate planning. However, while you may be aware of the need for estate planning, many people think they can put such decisions off until another day or that the process simply involves deciding how one’s assets will be divided. When people actually sit down to create the important documents that will govern their estate in the event of their death or incapacitation, some are surprised by all of the decisions to be made. Many people may need to be aware of issues surrounding conservatorships and guardianships.
When many people in Massachusetts think of estate planning, their thoughts may go to documents such as wills and trusts. However, there is more to estate planning than just what will happen upon a person's death. There are documents that can make caring for a person at the end of life easier.
Estate planning is not only about planning for one's death. It can also include planning for when one becomes incapacitated in Massachusetts or in any other state. When a person is found incapable of making decisions for himself or herself, the court will appoint a guardianship over the person. This means an individual is given the power to make decisions for the incapacitated person.