When a person is unable to care for themselves, a Guardian may be appointed. Once a person is found incompetent, their life could also end up in the hands of a stranger.
Guardians can have a great deal of power. Not every Guardian handles this power correctly. Once someone is appointed Guardian, they have access to their ward’s assets. Guardians are there to help manage these assets so the incompetent person can’t misuse them. In many cases the Guardian will control their wards finances, including paying bills, balancing bank accounts, and receiving any money that person may make.
A bad Guardian can drain an estate. There are horror stories from across the country of Guardians exploiting wards. Beyond monetary concerns, a Guardian can also isolate a ward and cut them off from loved ones.
Corruption and mismanagement can happen in the Guardianship system. The Probate Court as the Superior Guardian watches Guardians, but in a busy Court things can get overlooked.
As protection from a Guardianship nightmare, or the Court picking a Guardian, it is important to specify a Guardian in both a Will and Health Care Power of Attorney. Unless the Court finds that person unsuitable, that is who will be appointed.
Taking these simple steps can protect a person and their estate from a disastrous Guardianship situation.