When determining whether to apply to court for a guardianship of the estate, our clients consider possibilities that might be more cost-efficient or allow the proposed ward to retain more rights than a full guardianship.
Some alternatives that we discuss are:
- Statutory durable power of attorney. A valid power of attorney, if executed when the ward had capacity to do so, can allow the person appointed – the agent – to take care of the ward’s property and financial affairs.
- Multi-party or Convenience Bank Accounts. Adding another person who can pay expenses from the ward’s bank accounts can be a benefit if the ward simply needs assistance paying bills and has the capacity to name another party to the bank account.
- Application for Sale of Property Under $50,000. The Probate Code allows the parent of a minor or a guardian of the person to sell the minor’s/ward’s property without the need for a guardianship of the estate, under certain circumstances.
- Management Trust. The creation of a management trust allows a qualified individual or trust company to manage the ward’s property and make certain distributions for the ward’s benefit.
A guardianship of the estate might sometimes be unavoidable, but it is necessary to explore all possibilities to ensure that the ward’s best interests are protected.