Guardianships can certainly be used for children, and they are a major part of estate planning. In fact, one thing that often spurs people to begin thinking about estate planning is when they have a child. They know that the child needs to be cared for if they pass away, and this seems more urgent than simply deciding how to pass on assets. They choose a guardian and set up an estate plan so that that person has the legal power to care for the child.
But is this the only way that guardianships can work? Or can they be used for adults, as well?
An incapacitated individual may need a guardian
The thing to remember is that guardianships are generally aimed at individuals who can’t make decisions for themselves. This includes those who have been incapacitated in some way. It also includes children, who can’t make these decisions due to their age and stage of development that they’re at, but even adults could find themselves in this position.
For example, as your parent grows older, they could be diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s. These are degenerative brain diseases that slowly get worse with time. Someone may still be able to make all of their own choices for years after being diagnosed, but they can reach a point where this becomes impossible. They need someone to be able to step in and care for them and make decisions on their behalf. The guardian takes this role on.
Setting up guardianship may require help
If you’re interested in setting up a system like this, just be sure you know exactly what legal steps to take. Planning in advance can make things go far more smoothly in the future.