Court-appointed guardianship proceedings are costly and time-consuming — and should a guardianship be contested, the expense and time commitment can increase exponentially.
In contrast, planning ahead with a durable financial power of attorney and an advanced medical directive costs significantly less, and saves valuable time and stress for family members in the event their loved one becomes incapacitated.
As discussed in Guardianships Part 1: How to Avoid Court-Appointed Guardianships, a court-appointed guardianship process begins with someone, usually a close family member, contacting an attorney when they are concerned about another’s inability to care for themselves. As part of that court-appointed guardianship process, the closest next of kin must be given copies of all court guardianship papers and can approve or oppose the sought-after guardianship.
Should the next of kin, usually the ward’s children, disagree on who should be guardian, a contested guardianship ensues.
A contested guardianship can cost upwards of thousands of dollars in lawyers and legal fees. An uncontested guardianship, by comparison, will likely cost up to about $3,000.
However, the cost of drafting a durable financial power of attorney and an advanced medical directive is about $500.
Drafting and signing these legal documents while fully capacitated not only saves family significant costs, time and stress, but it also ensures the person’s wishes are carried out regarding who oversees their financial and medical well-being should they become unable to care for themselves.
If you’re concerned about protecting your loved ones through a guardianship process or have questions about the other documents discussed here, please contact our office, so we may help protect your family and their future. We are here to help make the best, most cost-effective choices. We would be happy to meet with you and discuss the details, facts, and options for your guardianship wishes should the need arise.