Estate Planning Isn’t Just For The Elderly

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The impact of guardianship on estate planning

On Behalf of | May 2, 2024 | Guardianships

Guardianship plays an important role in estate planning and can significantly shape the inheritance process.

Understanding how guardianship can influence these areas is key for anyone involved in planning an estate or managing the affairs of an incapacitated adult.

How guardianship influences estate planning

When someone becomes unable to manage their own affairs due to illness or incapacity, courts may appoint a guardian to make financial decisions. This guardian might need to manage or reallocate assets, including selling property, investing funds differently or using assets for care. These actions can change the intended distribution of assets set out in the estate plan.

Guardianship and asset control

A guardian’s control over an individual’s assets allows them to significantly affect the timing and manner of asset distribution, which can impact the inheritance for beneficiaries. If a guardian does not follow the original intentions of the estate plan, it might lead to conflicts among the heirs. Therefore, you need to select a reliable and trustworthy guardian.

Legal implications and safeguards

To protect an estate plan, legal documents should clearly state how guardianship should interact with the plan. This includes specifying how a guardian should manage the estate and what limitations they have. Setting up legal mechanisms like trusts can also help protect assets from mismanagement.

Choosing the right guardian

Selecting the right guardian ensures that the estate plan is executed as intended. Consider choosing someone with good financial sense, ethical standards and a commitment to respecting the estate plan’s principles. People often choose a family member or a professional with legal or financial expertise for this role.

Planning for the future

Including potential guardianship needs when drafting an estate plan is a proactive approach. It ensures that one’s wishes are respected, even if they become incapacitated. Regularly reviewing the estate plan and guardianship provisions can help you adapt to changing circumstances and ensure that the plan continues to serve the best interests of all involved.

Thoughtfully integrating guardianship with estate planning helps protect an individual’s assets and ensures their proper distribution, even during times of incapacity. This strategic integration can prevent legal disputes and protect the financial future of beneficiaries.