When clients and prospective clients speak to me about estate planning, their focus is usually on what will happen to them and their estate once they die. What most clients don’t think about is what will happen to them if they lose the ability to take care of themselves. This is particularly true for middle aged and younger clients. That is unless they have seen the consequences for themselves.
I often represent clients seeking to establish a conservatorship over a parent who has reached old age. A conservatorship is much like the guardianship of a child, except a conservatorship is designed to protect an adult who lacks the capacity to take care of themself or their finances. Most of my clients in these situations come away dismayed at the time and cost spent dealing with the court supervision involved in a conservatorship. Take it from a lawyer, while court supervision is sometimes very necessary, the less time you have to spend in court, the better. Much of that time and money could have been saved if their parent had just planned for their incapacity.
I tell all my clients involved in conservatorships, “Let this be a lesson to you. Plan for your future incapacity!”
While there is no guarantee that a conservatorship may not be needed at some point, you can go a great way to avoid the possibility and also provide a great deal of guidance to your family by planning for your potential incapacity. Your Revocable Trust can nominate Successor Trustees to manage your Trust Estate. You can create a Power of Attorney giving a trusted person the power to manage your assets. You can also provide a great deal of guidance to your family and avoid potential headaches by nominating a Conservator in case one is ultimately needed.
The lesson is simple. Your loved ones are already going to have a challenge in taking care of you should you lose your ability to take of yourself. Make it easier on them by planning for this unfortunate possibility.
If you want to know more about Conservatorships and Estate Planning, give us a call at (805) 966-0282. While this post discusses legal issues, it is not intended as legal advice, and use of this site does not create an attorney-client relationship.