Any Kent resident who has served as the guardian for a vulnerable child knows that the challenges of caring for a loved one do not end with the establishment of legal guardianship. As one father recently discovered, the difficult decisions that need to be made in the scope of everyday care can sometimes distract a guardian from big-picture issues that may arise long after legal intervention because of incapacity. Every guardian needs to remember that resources are available to help you through a trying time.
As Kent residents may know, Americans are living longer than ever, but one unfortunate side effect is that an increasing percentage of the population suffers from advanced infirmities of aging. Some conditions, such as Alzheimer's disease, may require a third party to step in and seek legal intervention because of the estate holder's incapacity. With statistics indicating that 43 percent of individuals over age 85 suffer from Alzheimer's disease, our readers in the Seattle area will want to be aware of the legal options for providing the best care for loved ones.
Seattle residents may remember Mike Wallace as the 60 Minutes news correspondent who commanded America's attention on some of the nation's most important stories over the course of a 60-year career. The venerable journalist's recent death at 93 years of age tells a story once again, and serves as a reminder of the importance of long term care planning.
Estate planning can sometimes require us to consider unpleasant but nonetheless probable aspects of our future. Many Washington residents no doubt procrastinate in deciding on matters of guardianship or powers of attorney. Plus, there may be a bit of a selfish strain running through much of our procrastination, since the ones who most benefit from a solid estate plan will do so after we're gone. But these are important issues to consider, and the basic goal of all estate planning is to provide for one's own needs, as well as for the needs of loved ones. To achieve this double outcome, estate planners in Seattle and the surrounding areas will want to give their estate plan a 2012 checkup.
As readers of this blog may know, courts appoint guardianships for many reasons. Typically, guardianship is granted to someone who is appointed to care for a vulnerable child, an elderly person or a sick or disabled person--someone who has been deemed unable to care for themselves. If someone is appointed guardianship, that means the guardian (typically a stranger) is given control over a person's life and assets. Unfortunately, those guardians don't always have their charges' best interests at heart. Recently, members of the National Association to Stop Guardian Abuse spoke out on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.