One part of estate planning is setting up a guardianship. This is a legal agreement that gives one person the ability to make decisions for someone else. That person is said to be the guardian of the other individual, who needs assistance with those decisions.
The first and perhaps most obvious example of how this happens is when new parents pick a guardian for their young child. They know that, if they were to pass away unexpectedly, the child would still need that parental figure. They can’t be expected to make their decisions on their own and they need a lot of help in various areas of life. The guardian is there to provide structure and assistance.
But that is not the only reason to set up a guardianship. Let’s look at two more below.
Your heir has physical limitations
In some cases, even an adult child may have physical limitations or a disability. Perhaps they were injured in a car accident, for example. This could mean that they need assistance with their daily life, and physical injuries can sometimes lead to cognitive limitations. Someone who suffered a traumatic brain injury in an accident may have difficulty making rational choices, for example.
There has been a cognitive decline
As noted above, cognitive issues are often going to play a role. But it doesn’t necessarily have to be an injury. Cognitive decline can happen for many reasons. Perhaps your heir has been diagnosed with a mental condition that is degenerative in nature, for example, or perhaps they’re suffering from some type of mental illness.
If you do decide to set up a guardianship, be sure you know exactly what legal steps to take.