A Guardian For Yourself: Choosing, Communicating With
Appointing a guardian is one method of assuring that if you become incapacitated, the best person to take care of you and your finances is in place. While the decision about who to appoint is up to a judge, your wishes will be generally be respected unless there is a valid reason not to do so.
Having a say in the matter is particularly important if you are married or have a significant other and you don't believe that person is the best person to make decisions about your care and/or your finances.
The main advantage of a court appointed guardian over an alternative such as using a durable power of attorney is that the guardian will be supervised by an independent judge. Also, when attempting to do a transaction, the authority of a guardian is less likely to be questioned than that of a person holding a power of attorney. The result is transactions are more likely to happen on a timely basis.
When thinking about the person to choose as your guardian, it is advisable to choose a competent person who understands your wishes and shares your values -- or at least will respect and honor them.
You can choose a personal guardian and a financial guardian, or one person can take on both roles just like you do. For factors to consider when choosing a guardian, click here.
It is advisable to name an alternate guardian in case your first choice can't serve, is not acceptable to the court, or stops serving for any reason.
Open communication with your potential guardian is essential to be sure your wishes are carried out. For information about What To Communicate To A Prospective Guardian, click here.
If you have children, consider who will take care of them if something happens to you. Appointing a guardian for your children is one of several choices.
Let the person or people you name as guardian or substitute guardian know:
- How to locate your assets (a List of Instructions helps keep track).
- Where to find your passwords (such as to confidential information you store on our site).
- Your values and desires.