One of the most serious discussions a family can have regarding estate planning is about guardianship. While no one wants to think about the possibility of losing independence in later life, it does happen. Individuals should always hope for the best and make plans to extend independence as long as possible, possibly through assisted living services. However, if dependence becomes a need, having a plan can save you from uncertainty and stress.
During the estate planning process, you can designate people who will act as guardians if you are mentally or physically incapacitated. Depending on the situation, these individuals handle matters such as health care and financial decisions. They might also provide daily assistance with living activities. Choosing someone you trust and who you know will take good care of your assets and person is important.
Without estate planning -- and even sometimes with it -- a person can be placed under the guardianship of someone who does not do everything he or she can to provide quality of care. Sometimes, guardians abuse their responsibilities by stealing from the people they are supposed to be protecting. Other times, guardians simply neglect their duties to a harmful degree. When family members see that someone they care about is in such a situation, they can act through the legal system to create a remedy.
One way to handle such a case is to contest a guardianship. If you believe someone is not a fit guardian for your loved one, working with a legal professional to make a case for this and present it to the court can help resolve the situation. If you can make the case, the court might appoint a new guardian who is more able to keep your loved one happy and comfortable during this time of life.