The Simple Way to Avoid the High Cost of a Guardianship or Conservatorship

It doesn’t matter how young or healthy you are.   Bad things sometimes happen to good people.   Whatever your age or health, for example, you might be only one car accident away from ending up mentally incapacitated.   Have you prepared to make the legal burden on your family as light as possible?

It is easier than you think.  With two simple legal documents, you can make sure someone in your family can make important financial and medical decisions for you when you are no longer able to make them yourself.  Everyone, and I mean everyone, needs to have these documents in place.

With a durable power of attorney, you appoint a person to handle your finances for you, such as paying your bills, selling or buying property if the need arises, or managing your rental properties.

With a healthcare power of attorney (aka a healthcare proxy), you nominate someone to make medical decisions for you.  This is crucial when life-and-death decisions must be made, and doctors need someone available to make the decisions quickly.   By naming someone in advance, you can also discuss with them what medical treatments you do – or do not – want to receive to prolong your life.

The legal cost of getting these simple documents is a couple of hundred dollars at the most.

So why is it so important to have these two documents in place?   Two reasons.

Without them, your family will not know who you wanted as your decision maker, and family members may disagree about your finances and your healthcare decisions.

Also, your family will be faced with the burden and expense of going to court – that is, the probate court – to get some judge to appoint someone to handle your finances (call your “conservator”) and your healthcare decisions (called your “guardian”).

The costs of going to court are always high.   Instead of spending a couple of hundred dollars to get a durable power of attorney and healthcare proxy while you were healthy, the court costs are usually in the thousands of dollars.   If your family fights about who should control your affairs, the cost of the litigation can skyrocket.   Instead of picking someone who you trust, a complete stranger – that is, a probate judge – will decide for you, and he or she likely will have no clue what your wishes might have been.

While you are healthy, consider getting a durable power of attorney and healthcare proxy in place.   It will not only give you peace of mind now but your family will be spared a huge burden if you ever become incapacitated.

Conveniently located in North Attleborough, we serve clients from Massachusetts and Rhode Island, especially the communities of North Attleborough, Taunton, Attleboro, Norton, Norton, Foxboro,  Wrentham, Rehoboth, Plainville, Franklin, Mansfield, Seekonk, Providence, Woonsocket, Cumberland, Pawtucket, and Lincoln.

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