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Incapacity Planning: Guardianship and Conservatorship

Incapacity planning involves directing how you are to be cared for and how your assets will be managed if you become physically and/or mentally unable to care for yourself or make responsible decisions.  This could involve simple tasks like buying groceries, paying bills, and handling your day-to-day finances to more important decisions such as selling real estate, gifting assets, or making critical medical decisions.  Depending upon the needs of the individual or family, incapacity planning could include a number of planning techniques such as durable financial powers of attorney, living wills and durable powers of attorney for health care, revocable living trusts, and guardianships and/or conservatorships.

Guardianships and conservatorships are court-supervised proceedings which name an individual or entity to oversee the personal care of an incapacitated person (guardianship) and manage his or her financial affairs (conservatorship).  They can be appropriate where the incapacitated person has not otherwise planned for the management of his or her personal and financial affairs in the event of incapacity or where he or she is susceptible to being taken advantage of by unscrupulous individuals.

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