Incapacity planning is a broad area of law that covers how you are cared for if you become physically or mentally unable to care for yourself. The type of care could range from simple tasks like buying groceries, paying bills, and handling financial matters to more important decisions such as selling real estate, gifting assets to your children, or making critical medical decisions. Depending on the needs of the individual or family, incapacity planning could include a number of planning techniques such as Property Powers of Attorney, Health Care Powers of Attorney, Living Wills or Advance Health Care Directives or Guardianships/Conservatorships.
What is a Guardianship or Conservatorship?
Guardianship, also known as Conservatorship, is a court-supervised proceeding which names an individual or entity to manage the affairs of an incapacitated person. A Guardianship may also include the duty to care for the incapacitated person.
In order to obtain Guardianship over a person’s finances, all of the finances of the alleged incapacitated person must be disclosed to the court and are available to be reviewed by any person from the court files. Similarly, in order to obtain Guardianship over a person’s healthcare or non-financial matters requires that a person’s medical and mental health records be disclosed to the court and are again available to be reviewed by any person from the court files.
Additionally, a Guardianship proceeding takes a considerable amount of time during which no person has the authority to access your funds potentially creating a financial burden for your caregiver. Finally, a Guardianship is considerably more expensive than creating your own plan before catastrophe strikes.
Our law firm helps clients create a plan to handle their affairs in the event they become disabled, thereby avoiding the necessity of a public Guardianship proceeding. Contact our Staten Island incapacity planning attorney Neil O’Reilly to find out more about how we can help you.