If you have aging parents or loved ones, the future of their health and wealth management is often a concern. When they cannot make their own choices, guardianship places the responsibility of decision-making in the hands of a trusted third party.
For loved ones who can manage their day-to-day life but need guidance navigating complex financial or medical decisions, alternatives can help you plan for their future while preserving their independence. Consider these less restrictive solutions before deciding on guardianship.
1. Set up joint financial accounts
Ensure that your loved one’s medical bills, property taxes and other obligations get paid while preventing accidental missed payments or costly fees by creating a joint bank account. Shared control gives them the help they need without restricting their access to funds.
2. Designate a healthcare surrogate
Prepare for the unexpected by having a system in place if your aging relative falls ill or becomes incapacitated. As a healthcare surrogate, you or another trusted party will make medical decisions on their behalf when they cannot do so themselves, protecting their wishes and avoiding the need to delay care.
3. Draft a living trust
A living trust grants responsibility for some or all of your aging family member’s assets to a trustee. Even if your loved one becomes incapacitated, the trustee manages the property until the assets pass on to the beneficiaries.
Estate planning offers alternatives to guardianship to ensure that your loved ones get the support they need as they age. It can also provide the peace of mind of knowing that their affairs are in order without compromising their ability to participate in the decision-making process.