Unfortunately, people of all ages pass away every day. You never know what the future holds. If you are a young adult, you should certainly have an estate plan in place, especially if you have minor children.
There is the matter of guardianship to consider. If both parents were to pass away together in an accident, who would care for the children? When you plan your estate, you can take the matter of guardianship into your own hands.
This would be done through the nomination of a guardian. If the unthinkable was to take place, the court would consider the nomination during the guardianship proceeding. Unless there was some compelling reason to go in another direction, the nomination would be honored.
An adult guardianship would come into play if you were to become incapacitated without taking any steps to prepare for this contingency. Under these circumstances, the court would appoint a guardian to act on your behalf, and you would become a ward.
There are different levels of adult guardianship. A general guardian would be empowered to handle all of the ward’s affairs. There can also be a limited guardianship. This would allow the guardian to make certain types of decisions on behalf of the ward.
Preventing a Guardianship
You can be proactive about preventing a guardianship proceeding. This is typically done through the execution of legally binding documents called durable powers of attorney.
This type of power of attorney would stay in effect even if you become incapacitated. With a durable power of attorney, you name someone of your own choosing to act on your behalf should you become incapacitated at some point in time.
You could name a health care decision maker through the execution of a durable medical power of attorney. For financial decision-making, you could create a durable financial power of attorney. If you wanted to, you could name two different respective representatives for the two different types of decision-making.
Incapacity Is Common Among Elders
You should certainly take steps to name your own hand-picked decision-makers, because incapacity is common among elders. Up to 45 percent of people who are at least 85 years of age are suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. This disease is a leading cause of incapacity, but it is not the only cause.
Free Incapacity Planning Consultation
If you would like to create an incapacity plan as a component within a broader estate plan, our firm can help. We offer free consultations, and you can click the following link to request an appointment: Grand Forks ND Estate Planning Attorney.