In this Elder Law Minute, Wes Coulson, Southern Illinois Elder Law attorney, explains why establishing a guardianship or conservatorship is both complicated and costly and discusses how planning ahead and having powers of attorney in place is a much better solution.
Why Is It So Complicated To Establish A Guardianship Or Conservatorship?
Hi, I’m Wes Coulson from Dent-Coulson Elder Law in O’Fallon, Illinois, and St. Louis, Missouri and this is your Elder Law Minute. A lot of people wonder, especially when I tell them how much it’s going to cost, why guardianship and conservatorship proceedings are so darned expensive and why it’s so darned complicated to get done. Well, let me try to explain that.
First of all, I want you to understand the basic nature of a guardianship or a conservatorship and that is to give someone else, other than the person who is the subject of it, the right to make all of the decisions for that person from now on. And, you know, as Americans we hold very near and dear that right to make our own decisions, good, bad or otherwise. So, we want to be cautious before they take that away. So, the law builds in cautions that make sure that somebody just doesn’t get railroaded into it.
They have to be served with process like a defendant in a lawsuit, so that they have a chance to be heard and to object to it if they choose to do that. There has to be a medical report that shows that in fact there is a medical basis for determining that they’re incompetent, so we don’t have somebody just claiming that that’s the case. The Court most often is going to appoint what’s known as a Guardian Ad Litem, which is basically another attorney who is going to go out, interview the person who is the subject of the proceeding and the proposed guardian or conservator, make sure that everything seems okay and report that back to the Court.
So, the simple answer to the question is there are a lot of steps to the process, but there need to be. Now, let me tell you the easy way though to avoid all of that expense and delay and hassle, and that is to put powers of attorney in place. So, if you’re concerned about that, talk about powers of attorney and come see us to get that done. That’s the best solution. Thanks.
For more information on powers of attorney, visit these articles:
- Why You Really Can’t Do Without Powers Of Attorney
- Is Adding Someone’s Name To Accounts An Okay Substitute For A Power Of Attorney For Property?
- Why A Healthcare Power Of Attorney Is Better Than A Living Will
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Dent-Coulson Elder Law is dedicated to providing families in the St. Louis area with their Elder Law needs. Our practice areas include Asset Preservation Planning, Veterans Benefits, Medicaid Eligibility, Alzheimer’s Planning, Special Needs Planning, Estate Planning and more. We understand the financial challenges you may face as you and your loved ones grow older. At Dent-Coulson Elder Law, our clients’ well-being is our number one priority. For immediate help, call (877)995-6876 or Contact Us and we will get in touch as soon as possible.