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What advance directive tools can be guardianship alternatives?

On Behalf of | Mar 15, 2024 | Guardianships And Conservatorships

Entering guardianship can be helpful for individuals who cannot care for themselves properly because of disabilities or incapacity, but it may only be a final resort. Courts often encourage individuals to retain their autonomy despite their condition if they can still make decisions for themselves. However, they may need some help, making specific advance directive tools viable options.

These legal options can help individuals enforce their wishes in specific situations. Various advance directive tools can be appropriate based on the circumstances, including the following arrangements:

  • A living will – This legal document contains the individual’s wishes concerning necessary measures in case of incapacity, often associated with terminal health conditions.
  • Health care surrogate – This tool gives consent for someone else to make medical decisions for the individual. It takes effect once the individual becomes legally incapacitated.
  • Power of attorney – This document allows another person to act on behalf of the individual without removing their right to take action and make decisions alone. It can have various features addressing financial and medical issues accordingly.
  • Representative payee – This role functions as someone receiving Social Security payments on behalf of another individual. It is often applicable if the individual receives benefits but cannot oversee their finances because of their condition.

These alternatives can be less restrictive than guardianship, making them ideal if the individual can still make decisions on their own.

Addressing needs without revoking independence

Guardianship can involve severe restrictions that can cause more harm than good for individuals who can maintain a level of independence. In these instances, advance directive options and other tools could be more beneficial. Before seeking these arrangements, consider consulting a legal professional to determine whether guardianship is truly necessary.