Admittedly, estate planning involves confronting some less than pleasant eventualities. Making sure that your assets are properly distributed after your passing is part of the endeavor as we all know. At the same time, you should prepare for the eventualities of aging, which could include include potentialguardianship and conservatorship proceedings.
These terms are used in slightly different ways depending on the state in question. Here in the state of Iowa a guardian is appointed to make personal decisions on behalf of a ward. A conservator would handle the ward’s financial decisions.
The matter of guardianship and conservatorship in Davenport Iowa is relevant to you if you are planning ahead for the future because incapacity is a very real possibility if you live to an advanced age. A very high percentage of our elders suffer from dementia, and most of it is caused by Alzheimer’s disease.
Over 40 percent of people who are 85 years of age or older are stricken with Alzheimer’s disease. If you have Alzheimer’s disease it is unlikely that you will be able to make sound personal, medical, and financial decisions.
There are reasons why you would want to take steps to circumvent the necessity for guardianship and conservatorship proceedings. One of them is the fact that there can be disagreements among family members with regard to the appointment of a guardian and conservator. This is something that you can prevent if you plan ahead appropriately.
Another thing to consider is the immediate need that may exist. A guardianship and conservatorship proceeding can take some time. While the matter is being decided by the court there is going to be a decision making void.
Lastly, the court may decide on a guardian and conservator that you would never have chosen if you would have picked your own decision makers in advance.
You can take action to put an incapacity plan in place by executing documents called durable powers of attorney. With these legal instruments you empower attorneys in fact make your decisions for you in the event of your incapacitation.
Because of the fact that the powers are indeed durable they remain in effect even if you do become incapacitated. Powers of attorney that are not designated as durable would not remain in effect upon the incapacitation of the principal.
To avoid a conservatorship in Davenport Iowa, you could also consider the conveyance of assets into a revocable living trust. You can act as the trustee while you are still alive and of sound mind. However, you name a disability or successor trustee when you create the trust agreement. If you were to become incapacitated and unable to administer the trust, your successor trustee would assume the role of trustee. This individual or fiduciary entity would manage your financial affairs.
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Ryan M. DenmanandDennis D. Duffy
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