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Alternatives to guardianship for elders with diminished capacity

On Behalf of | Sep 8, 2022 | Probate & Estate Planning |

If you have spent time researching elder guardianships, you have probably discovered that most people dislike them. Many believe guardianships can rob elders of autonomy, independence and self-determination.

Although guardianships protect elders who have lost the capacity to make wise decisions, they can also impose harsh restrictions. Before deciding that guardianship is the only option for you or an elder, consider exploring other alternatives.

A living trust

A living trust empowers you, or an aging loved one, to appoint a trusted representative to manage their financial affairs. The designated representative can step in and make financial decisions or transactions when the elderly cannot do so alone.

A financial power of attorney

Although it resembles a living trust, a financial power of attorney works differently. You can still designate an agent to make decisions on your behalf in the document, but you can limit the extent of their power. For example, you can include a list of specific financial transactions you want them to handle.

A representative payee

Those receiving government benefits (Social Security or Social Security Disability Insurance) can request participation in a representative payee program upon waning capacity. The Social Security Administration appoints individuals to manage government income on behalf of recipients.

A sound mind is required

If you suspect mental incapacity has begun affecting you or an aging family member, time is of the essence. These solutions are only valid when created by a person of sound mind.

Waiting until the incapacity worsens could compromise your rights and ability to live independently. We recommend increasing your knowledge of Rhode Island guardianship and estate planning laws for more potential alternatives. If guardianship seems like the best option, seek guidance from a legal advocate to preserve your independence as much as possible.

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