Focusing on the needs of families and individuals as they age is an important aspect of estate and long-term care planning. With advances in age come advances in health problems. Along with health challenges, we face special legal challenges that need addressing. The body of law addressing these challenges is commonly known as "Elder Law."
Karen Schroeder, Attorney at Law, has years of extensive experience working on Estate Planning, Wills & Trusts, Guardianships and Probate cases. Karen’s goal is to give you confidence and peace of mind. We will help you plan for any contingencies that may make happen accidentally or through illness. We can help you create a plan that covers incapacity and includes plans for surrogate decision-making – including preferences for long-term care and estate preservation should you personally not be able to make those choices in the long run.
Guardianship is the Legal Process of one person taking over the rights and responsibilities for an incapacitated person. The incapacitated person’s ability to care for themselves is brought to the attention of the court and another person is appointed to step in and care for them. It is a very serious process and should be treated with extraordinary care. Our firm focuses on helping families avoid Guardianship whenever possible. We accomplish this through thorough and focused estate planning.
However, there are times when Guardianship is unavoidable. This often happens when an intellectually disabled child reaches the age of majority. Often time’s parents find themselves unable to deal with doctors or financial institutions on behalf of their child once that child is over 18. In cases where the person has mental capacity issues Guardianship may be necessary to ensure that they continue to be taken care of.
Another situation where Guardianship becomes necessary is when a person loses mental capacity due to illness or injury. If a person has executed a Durable Power of Attorney and Medical Power of Attorney, and possibly a Trust prior to becoming incapacitated, Guardianship can usually be avoided. However, if they have not done so, it can be very difficult for family and close friends to step in and take care of them. In many cases, it will require going through the court process of Guardianship.
Having a loved one who has lost the capacity to care for their self is very troubling. Even more troubling is when you are unable to assist the loved one with simple tasks such as managing their finances or helping them make healthcare decisions. If you are in this situation, Karen can help you to obtain Guardianship over that loved one so that you can ensure that they continue to obtain the care that they need and their assets are not squandered.