You are going to live forever.
You can eat whatever you want and drink whatever you want and run for as long as you want forever. Because you are invincible and nothing bad will ever happen to you.
Did you buy that? No?
Unfortunately, people don’t stay young and healthy forever. We don’t like to think of a time in the future when we will no longer be able to take care of ourselves, but it is incredibly important that you do so. Ask yourself:
If you become incapacitated, who will have the legal authority to take care of you?
If a parent or other loved one becomes incapacitated, who will be able to assist them with managing their assets or healthcare?
If you die before your children reach adulthood, who will have custody over them or be able to take care of their inheritance until they come of age?
You may not know the answers to these questions, and that’s fine. That is probably why you are reading an article on an estate planning website. (Either that or you are very bored.)
Whenever we ask questions about capacity or managing someone’s financial or medical care, we enter the realm of guardianships and conservatorships. Two big legal words with two big legal explanations. So, let’s dive in and learn more about these concepts.
What is a Guardianship?
A guardianship is a court-supervised process whereby the judge appoints a guardian to manage the personal care of a ward (i.e. someone who is physically or legally unable to manage their medical care). Similarly, a conservatorship is a court-supervised process whereby the judge appoints a conservator (similar to a guardian) to manage the assets of a ward (i.e. someone who is physically or legally unable to manage their assets).