Options to avoid conservatorships and guardianships

No one likes losing their independence and ability to determine their lives. Unfortunately, it happens sometimes in the elderly population. They may become too impaired to continue making sound personal and financial decisions.

Like most, you may not want to get locked into a conservatorship or guardianship if an illness or injury leaves you incapacitated. Is there anything you can do to address possible incapacity that does not involve these two options?

Other solutions documents to consider

The best approach is to address the possibility of future incapacity while healthy. Creating a few well-drafted documents preserves your independence and self-determination. If you reach a level of impairment that compromises your decision-making, you can remain protected without a conservator or guardian.

  • Advance healthcare directive. Gives an agent of your choice the legal authority to make medical decisions in your stead upon impairment
  • Durable power of attorney. Gives the individual you select the legal authority to conduct financial transactions on your behalf
  • Revocable living trust. Gives your chosen representative the legal authority to manage your financial affairs

We cannot overemphasize the importance of executing these documents as early as possible, especially if you are already in your golden years. There should be no question about your competence at the time of their execution.

Another conservatorship remedy

If you’re still concerned, you may preselect your own conservator should a conservatorship become unavoidable. All it usually takes is having the provision added to your final will. To get more of the answers you need, continue familiarizing yourself with Minnesota elder laws and estate planning.