Many people know how important it is to designate someone to make medical and legal decisions for them in their old age or if they should otherwise become unable to do so. However, there is more than one way to accomplish this and people may not know exactly what choice is the best for them. One way is to establish guardianship and another is to designate someone as a power of attorney. Families in Massachusetts may not know the differences between the two, so here is an overview of each option.
Many people in Massachusetts have concerns regarding how to handle their end-of-life care. Some may not be able to rely on their families, particularly if they live far away or if they do not have a relationship with them. Some may choose to rely on a professional guardian for medical and financial decisions. While that can be a wonderful choice for many, there are those who do not have a positive experience with guardianships. One out-of-state case involves a woman accused of fraud surrounding several guardianships she claimed to be handling.
Many Massachusetts residents have older family members who are still in good health. Still, they may understand that mental capacity often declines as individuals age, and the possibility exists that dementia could easily affect any older loved one. When that happens, it may be time for other family to consider the possibility of conservatorships.
Unfortunately, the abuse of elderly or disabled individuals is not entirely an uncommon occurrence. Many Massachusetts families have seen or experienced the abuse of incapacitated adults by appointed guardians, private nurses or even other family members. This can result in heavy fines or even jail time for the abusers.
There are adults across the country who are under the care of another due to a wide variety of health problems or old age. These caregivers are often in charge of helping their wards around their homes as well as helping to pay bills. However, as some Massachusetts residents may know, some of these caregivers take advantage of the incapacitated adults whom they are supposed to help.
Britney Spears is known and beloved as a musical artist, but she is also known for her rather infamous breakdowns. What many Massachusetts readers might not know is that Spear's assets have been controlled by her father from a young age. Her father was originally awarded conservatorship after she was checked into a psychiatric hospital in 2008. In other cases, conservatorships or guardianships may be awarded to a third party or to an attorney.
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.