Guardianships and conservatorships can be great tools for protecting vulnerable adults. Unfortunately, they can also be tools for perpetrating financial abuse and other types of harm against elderly and the disabled, and even against perfectly healthy adults. Family battles, greedy “friends” and caretakers or nursing homes that want to ensure that they receive prompt payment for their services are just some of the ways that guardianships and conservatorships are sometimes misused.
You can actually do some things right now to help ensure that you and your loved ones do not fall victim to guardianship or conservatorship abuse. With some planning, you can safeguard the future care of you, your finances, and the people that you love. A Kansas estate planning attorney can help you to do some of the following things now so that fewer things will be left open to interpretation or the choices of others in the future.
One document that you can have an attorney create with you at any time can safeguard your financial resources. The durable power of attorney for finances names a specific person to make decisions for you if you can’t do so on your own. In similar fashion, you can work with an attorney to create your durable power of attorney for health care. Use a durable power of attorney for health care to designate a person to make health care decisions for you if you cannot make them yourself. The person who is your agent would be able to access your medical records, speak with doctors on your behalf, and make decisions about which care you receive.
Since the aforementioned documents involve delicate personal matters, think carefully about who you can trust to fulfill the roles that you would designate to them before discussing the matter with them to see how they feel about taking on that responsibility. As your attorney what types of language you can include in each document that can make it clear to your agent how you would like things to be handled if at all possible.
It is important that anyone who makes a durable power of attorney for finances or a health care power of attorney know that they can revoke those documents at any time and have them redone for new agents. Relationships change, or friends and family members may become ill or pass away. If for any reason you decide at any time that the person that you have named as your agent in either document would be unable to fulfill their duties or would be likely to mistreat you, that is the time to revoke it.
Discussing powers of attorney with family members and friends may seem like a difficult or unpleasant thing to do, but many people actually appreciate it. Decisions involving the care of someone else are hard to make, and when there are multiple family members who share the same status, such as your children or your brothers and sisters, there is a huge potential for disagreement over what each of them thinks that you would want to happen in any given situation. When you make your wishes known, everyone knows what you would like and who is responsible for making sure that you get it. If you have questions about guardianship, Kansas Estate Planning Attorney Thomas McDowell can help you. Please call our office today, at (316) 633-4322 to make an appointment for your initial consultation.