Posts Tagged ‘conservator’

Do you have a ‘special needs’ child?

Sunday, May 22nd, 2011

Most of us know that each child is special and unique, but in this case I’m talking about a child that has ‘special needs’.

These special needs can run the gamut from being mildly allergic to milk to being unable to care for themselves at all.

When the child is under the age of 18, the parent can make decisions for the child without question so long as they have not been removed as the legal guardian of the child.

But what happens when that child reaches the age of majority?  In most states, a person is presumed to be able to make their own decisions when they reach the age of 18.

If your child’s special need is to not drink milk, this is probably ok.  The child probably knows to stay away from foods that have negative consequences.  But what about a child that is not able to take care of his or her own self?

If the now-adult child is capable of understanding what it means, he or she can execute a power of attorney giving the parent (or someone else) the authority to act or make decisions on behalf of the child.  If the child is not capable of understanding what it means, the courts may need to step in to authorize someone to take actions on behalf of the child.  This person is usually called a ‘guardian’ or ‘conservator’.

As a parent, you also want to make sure that your young child is cared for in case something should happen to you.  While this is important for all parents, it is even more important for parents of special needs children who may not be able to successfully transition to the care of others in the case of an emergency.

There are also a number of financial and legal planning activities that the parents of a special needs child should know about in order to make the best decisions for the entire family.

If you have a special needs child, you probably already have a number of specialists working with you on your child’s medical and educational plans.  You should also consider having someone work with you on your child’s legal plan.

To Learn more about Kristina Beavers, Attorney at Law visit the website at www.BeaversLaw.com

Do I need a Power of Attorney?

Sunday, October 31st, 2010

Most people think they need a Will (or perhaps a Trust).  A Will describes what to do with your ‘stuff’ after you die, and yes, we are all going to die.

But, what happens to your ‘stuff’ if you are still alive but incapacitated in some way?  How will your bills be paid if you are in a coma?  Who will make decisions if you suffer from dementia or have a heart attack and end up in the hospital for awhile?

If you have a Power of Attorney, you get to choose who will make those decisions, and those decisions can be made as soon as needed.  If you do not have a Power of Attorney, someone can petition the Court to appoint a conservator.  It might be the same person you would have chosen, but the Court might appoint someone else.  Someone you would not have wanted to have that control over your affairs.  And it won’t be done immediately because it just takes time.  So your perfect credit rating can be tarnished when your payments don’t get processed before they are late.

Also, if you have a Power of Attorney, you get to decide what your Agent can do.  For example, you get to decide if you want your Agent to make gifts above the tax free limit each year if that’s in your best interest.

In fact, the Power of Attorney can be the most important document in your Estate Plan.  And the answer is Yes, I think you do need a Power of Attorney.