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Establish guardianship before it is needed

The idea of estate planning may seem like something that the wealthy elite do, but some elements of estate planning can benefit almost anyone. Part of an estate plan can include establishing guardianship, a thing that is often not thought of until it is too late. If a legal guardian is not specified in a legally binding document prior to a person being deemed unable to care for him or herself, he or she may be subject to a court appointing a legal guardian that he or she may not have wanted.

If you are considering how to protect yourself and the ones you love, you owe to yourself to pre-appoint who you wish to be your guardian. This must be an individual you trust to have your best interests at heart, because he or she will have massive amounts of power to wield. When a person is appointed legal guardian, he or she is able to decide how your finances are run, how your property is treated, where you live and even how many medical decisions are made on your behalf.

It is easy to see how vital it is to appoint someone you trust as to be your legal guardian before a court has anything to say about it. Otherwise, you may find yourself under the care of a caretaker who is more concerned with controlling your assets than caring for you. In these cases, it is very difficult to regain control of your life and assistance you have been submitted to guardianship.

It pays to plan ahead, and not just for the wealthy. We all deserve to be treated with care and dignity in our elder years, or in the event of becoming incapacitated. Taking this estate planning step and appointing a trusted person to be your guardian in the event of incapacitation is one way that anyone, regardless of his or her station in life, can care for him or herself and his or her loved ones using the legal system. The guidance of an experienced lawyer can help you navigate this process if you believe that establishing guardianship is right for you.

Source: Huffington Post, "Is Elder Guardianship A New Form Of Human Trafficking?," Dr. Terri Kennedy, accessed Oct. 06, 2016

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