Health Care and Financial Planning

Alternatives to Guardianship and Conservatorship for Adults

Before you begin a legal process for Guardianship and/or Conservatorship, consider whether an adult has the capacity to sign a Health Care Proxy and a Durable Power of Attorney.

A Health Care Proxy is a legal document where you give a trusted person the authority to make medical decisions on your behalf if you become unable to make effective decisions yourself. A Durable Power of Attorney is a legal document where you give a trusted person the authority to manage your money, property and business affairs if you become unable to manage these matters yourself.

If as a competent adult you give your authority to a trusted person to make decisions for you, it can avoid the need for the court to step in and appoint a Guardian or Conservator to protect your personal and financial affairs if you become incapacitated. A Health Care Proxy is considered an alternative to Guardianship; a Durable Power of Attorney is considered an alternative to Conservatorship.

Where do I begin?

Generally, an adult can sign a Health Care Proxy and/or Durable Power of Attorney if the adult understands that he or she is giving another person the authority to make medical or financial decisions on the behalf of the adult if the adult becomes incapacitated. Having the capacity to sign these legal documents allows an adult to plan for the future regarding health care and financial matters. Making a plan can be done through a process called Estate Planning and/or Advance Care Planning. A medical evaluation is not necessary but in some cases may be helpful to determine if an adult has the capacity to sign legal documents.

Options to ConsiderTo learn more, click on the Question and Answer topics below:

General Information on Alternatives for Adults

Related Topics

Alternatives to Guardianship and Conservatorship for Minors

Becoming a child’s Guardian is one way to help care for a child under 18 years old. Depending on the situation, the alternatives below may be helpful and can be done without a lawyer or court approval.

Click on the Question and Answer topics below to learn more:

General Information on Alternatives for Minors

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