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Appointing a guardian: what you need to consider

Many people may not even think about the topic of appointing a guardian when they get older. But actually, this is a critical part of an estate plan, especially for those who have difficulties performing daily tasks, may that be due to a physical disability or just old age.

A guardian is appointed by the "ward," which is the person who needs help (and is composing their estate plan). Appointing this person is a critical step, as you want to make sure that you are asking a trustworthy and responsible person who will help and support you in a variety of ways.

For example, your guardian will make a lot of financial decisions on your behalf if you are incapacitated. Debts, bills, weekly errands and household tasks will also rest in your guardians hands. Your guardian will also be integral to your medical care, as they will give consent for what you receive and how you are treated.

Naturally, you may be wondering who you should appoint as your guardian. In most cases, the ward chooses a spouse, family member or a state employee that is related to the estate or family in some way. A court can also choose your guardian.

Whoever your guardian is, he or she must uphold their responsibilities or they risk losing their role as a guardian. More than that, they can be at risk of legal consequences if neglect can be proven. If you have any questions or concerns about guardians and the topic of guardianship, consult with an attorney.

Source: FindLaw, "Guardianship Basics," Accessed April 25, 2016

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