Maintaining control over the guardian selection process

As you begin the estate planning process in earnest, it is important to remember that you are planning for more than just what will happen with your assets and properties when you die. You also need to consider the handling of your personal affairs (if needed) as you enter into your elder years.

Sometimes this need goes beyond granting someone power of attorney to considering the selection of a guardian. Many of our past clients have come to us here at J. Kevin Tharpe, P.C. weary of doing this due to horror stories they have heard of guardians exploiting their wards. To avoid this potential, you need to take control of the process while you still can.

Choosing your potential guardian

It is true that a court can appoint a public guardian over you if you become incapacitated. Like most, however, the thought of a complete stranger overseeing the important aspects of your life terrifies you (particularly when the issue of incapacity is often viewed subjectively). You can avoid this by documenting your own choice for your guardian. Per the website for Hall County, the court assigns first preference to your personal choice. The person you select simply needs to meet the basic requirements, which are that they be an adult who are themselves not incapacitated and who do not have my business with you that may seem to be a conflict of interest.

The order of preference

If you do not designate a guardian on your own, the court follows its own order of preference. It goes as follows:

  • Your spouse
  • Your child
  • Your parent

It is only if any of these parties are unavailable (or ineligible) that the court will then consider a public guardian.

You can find more information on adult guardianships throughout our site.

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Kevin Tharpe

With 25 years of experience, Kevin understands how estate planning, special needs planning, and government benefits programs work together. This is a crucial element of a thorough plan. He explains your eligibility for benefits programs and ensures that you do not make costly mistakes that may disqualify you or deplete your assets.

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