Elder Law Eugene & Lane County, Oregon
Elder Law is a specialized area of estate planning. Often, circumstances occur in our lives that are unexpected, especially for aging parents and family members. Planning for care when an individual is no longer able to manage his or her assets or daily activities can be stressful and confusing. Long-term care can take a large financial and emotional toll. As a qualified Elder Law attorney, I can help an individual or family plan so that their assets are sufficient to cover the costs of care throughout life.
There are many issues to consider, including guardianship and conservatorship (described below), Medicaid planning, special needs trusts, and income cap trusts. Whether you are planning for the future or already facing these concerns with a family member, please contact me to discuss your specific Elder Law concerns and questions.
Guardianship and Conservatorship
If a person lacks the capacity to manage personal needs and health care decisions, that person will need someone else to make decisions. You can prepare for this with the proper estate planning documents. If a decision maker has not been appointed, Oregon law allows for the court to appoint a guardian. It may be necessary for a family member to petition a court for guardianship when an individual is incapacitated or exhibiting destructive or dangerous behavior. It is up to the court to decide whether the person filing the petition for guardianship is best suited for the role of guardian.
A guardian is different from a conservator in that a guardian does not have any financial responsibility. A guardian may make decisions about where a person should live and ensure that a person has proper medical care.
A conservator may be appointed by a court if a person has not executed a Power of Attorney and is unable to manage personal finances. Just like a guardian, an individual, likely a family member, must petition the court to be appointed as conservator and then the court must decide who to appoint. A conservator must create an inventory of assets to file with the court and must transfer the assets into the name of the conservatorship. The conservator must also file annual accounting reports with the court to account for each amount spent from the conservatorship.
Rather than waiting for the court to appoint a conservator, planning ahead with a Power of Attorney or even a living trust may eliminate the stress and costs that come with court involvement.
Please contact me to discuss your guardianship and conservatorship questions.