It is never too late (or early) to have proper planning in place so that a Guardianship might be avoided. A Guardianship is usually necessary when someone becomes incapacitated and cannot handle their financial affairs or cannot physically take care of themselves or both. Guardianship proceeding usually involves removal of an individual’s rights. Consequently, the law provides extensive procedural safeguards to insure that there is no abuse and exploitation of the individual subject to the guardianship proceeding. Guardianship is often time-consuming, expensive, and adversarial and should be your last resort.

However, if you have a Durable Power of Attorney where you appoint someone to handle your financial affairs and a Designation of Healthcare Surrogate where you appoint someone to handle your health care issues, then it may be possible to avoid a Guardianship because someone that you appointed will have authority to act on your behalf. Although that is not always the case, such advance planning often will help you avoid a costly and cumbersome court-supervised Guardianship. Just be sure the person you appoint as your attorney in fact and/or your healthcare surrogate has solely your best interest in mind and heart.