According to the Massachusetts Guardianship Association, a guardian is appointed when someone becomes incapacitated due to a clinically diagnosed medical condition. A guardian may make medical decisions, which are often based on the wishes of the person in his or her living will. If no such document exists, then the medical decisions are generally made by the guardian.
Most people don't like talking about their final plans. It's not a pleasant topic, but it is an important one. If your wishes are not written out in your estate plans, it's quite possible they won't be fulfilled. This includes things like who gets your assets when you pass away, what your health care wishes are and where important documents are located. While you may not think this is anything you must address as you're just entering into retirement, the truth is these are factors that should have been addressed some time ago. However, it's not too late to begin getting everything together so your family members aren't left making all the decisions on their own should you become incapacitated or pass away.
If you have a conservatorship or guardianship in place for a family member and the two of you live in different states, you may soon realize that all state laws are not the same. For those in Massachusetts, providing care for a loved one across the miles can be taxing, emotionally and financially. Here is a story that might interest you about the difficulties one woman faced after being granted guardianship of her brother.
A woman from West Orange, New Jersey, has pleaded guilty to several federal crimes after she admitted to stealing almost $100,000 from an elderly woman. According to a U.S. Attorney in Trenton, the 47-year-old woman was given power of attorney by the elderly woman and that gave her access to virtually every aspect of the woman's finances.
In Massachusetts' neighboring state of Connecticut, a court found that a disabled man was deprived of his inheritance by his conservator - a probate court-appointed lawyer. His job was to ensure the man's assets and interests were protected. The man suffered from cerebral palsy and 25 years ago, he asked the probate court for a conservator to manage his finances. Those finances included an inheritance from his mother who had recently passed away. His assets at the time totaled more than $100,000.
Most people in Boston, Massachusetts, do not have experience administering an estate. It's an important responsibility, though, as you are the personal representative for the person who named you as executor or administrator. One of the first things you will need to do is to locate the decedent's will.
The most common form of elder abuse, including those who live in Massachusetts, is financial exploitation. It often involves family members, but can also be perpetrated by close elderly friends. These people want to gain control of the elder's finances, including bank accounts, credit cards and investment accounts. Many times, the goal is to isolate the victims from their family or well-meaning friends.
Estate plans contain some very important documentation that elderly individuals in Massachusetts need to make sure are in place. One of these is the power of attorney, a legal document that names a person - usually a spouse, relative, professional or friend - the ability to make decisions for you when you no longer can do so. Though it sounds straightforward, the document must be properly prepared in order for it to be valid in the eyes of those that require the decisions to be made.
One of the most important parts of an estate plan is determining who will be in charge of your finances when you become incapable of directing them yourself. This is something that senior citizens in Boston should seriously consider, especially since there have been so many well-publicized issues with conservatorships in the past. Though many of those are related to celebrities and their estates, a former university professor is at the center of a conservatorship controversy that is currently ongoing.
Older individuals in Boston are often worried about what they might do if they become incapacitated. While this is a legitimate concern that can be reduced by establishing a power of attorney, it is not the only way that an individual can be considered incapacitated, at least when it comes to estate planning.