The average life expectancy of an American has increased dramatically over the last century. Today, many of us can expect to live into our 70s, 80s, or beyond. While living longer is certainly welcome, it also comes with increased concerns. Unfortunately, although advances in medicine and the sciences have allowed us to live long they have yet to find a way to stop the natural aging process. This means that if you are caring for an elderly loved one there is a good chance that he or she will eventually suffer from an age related dementia disease. This, in turn, may mean that you need to step in and seek guardianship also known as conservatorship.
In Wisconsin, guardianship can be for the person or for the estate of the person. To become a guardian of a person requires court intervention. A court must find the person who needs protection (the ward) to be incompetent before a guardian will be appointed. If you are appointed as guardian of the person you will have the authority to make day to day decisions for the ward such as where he or she will live, what doctor the ward will treat with, and who will have access to the ward. As guardian of the estate you will have control over the estate of the ward and will make decision relating to the ward’s finances and assets. The court will decide the extent of the authority you are granted when you file for guardianship. The court will also retain oversight over the guardianship, meaning as guardian you will have to report to the court on a regular basis.
If you are concerned about a loved one’s ability to handle his or her finances and/or make daily decisions, contact us to discuss your options. Also visit our website at KH-LAW.NET to learn how your estate can avoid a Guardianship proceeding.