NASHVILLE, Tennessee. Conservatorships are designed to protect the rights of a gravely disabled individual who can no longer make financial or medical decisions on their own behalf. A proper estate plan should include provisions for long-term care, which should include a durable power of attorney and advanced healthcare directive. If you do not have these plans in place, a conservatorship might be sought by a paid guardian. In this case, the paid guardian may not be someone you would have chosen and may not be someone to whom you are related.
Individuals with degenerative diseases, like dementia or Parkinson’s may want to appoint a person to handle their affairs should they become incapacitated, but these individuals are not the only ones who should consider having these plans in place. A recent New Yorker article investigated how elderly residents were taken advantage of when they had no estate plan in place. Individuals found themselves being managed by professional conservators who were skilled in negotiating the court system. In some instances, the people being managed were not incapacitated. Instead, these professional conservators knew which doctors to consult to get the paperwork needed by the courts. Planning ahead now for the future and for your long-term care can give you peace of mind and help your family understand the steps that should be taken should you become ill. It can also protect you from having a stranger manage your affairs.
The courts are very cautious when establishing conservatorships. According to Elder Law of Nashville, P.L.C. establishing a conservatorship can be a complex process. A person must file a petition with the courts with a named conservator and a statement from a physician attesting that the individual needs a conservatorship. A Guardian ad Litem will investigate the case and determine whether a conservatorship should be established.
According to Forbes, having an advanced health care directive or a durable power of attorney in place can protect you from the uncertainty of having a stranger or another person take over your affairs. Childless adults and adults who are unmarried may want to take the time to consider who they would want to handle their affairs should they become incapacitated. If your children live far away, you may also want to consider establishing long-term care plans. Professional guardians might come into play if the courts or doctors cannot immediately reach a family member. Even if you are married, it may be wise to appoint an alternative agent in your will. If your partner dies, then this other person can be consulted.
In some cases, individuals hire a professional intentionally. If you don’t have family you can trust, you can hire someone to handle your affairs, but it is important to find someone you can trust in this case as well.
If you have questions about conservatorship or long-term care planning, don’t wait until it is too late to act. Visit Elder Law of Nashville, P.L.C. today, our long-term care planning lawyers can help. We can be reached at https://elderlawofnashville.com/long-term-care/.