Sometimes adults lose the ability to make decisions for themselves due to mental incapacitation from a disease, injury, or illness. When a person’s mental state declines to the point that they aren’t able to understand the choices they’re making, someone needs to step in and assist with financial, legal, and medical decisions. This is called a plenary guardianship – when someone has total control over another person’s decisions.
A plenary guardianship comes with many responsibilities. Let’s take a look at some of the most common elements of a plenary guardianship.
If complete authority is granted in a plenary guardianship, it means that an individual has the power to make all decisions on behalf of the incapacitated person. These decisions are most often medical, financial, and legal. If you’re drafting your will you can choose who you want to be named as your guardian if a situation arises in which you need one. It’s usually a spouse, an adult child, or a trusted family friend.
Authority Over Estate
Your plenary guardian will have complete control over your estate and all of your assets. If the doctors tell your plenary guardian that it’s unlikely you’ll recover, they can start distributing the estate as directed by your will.
Health decisions are an important part of a plenary guardianship, and you should plan for how you want these decisions made as part of your will. If you don’t, and your guardian doesn’t have any indication as to how you would have wanted to proceed, they’ll make the decisions about your healthcare themselves.
Even when your incapacitated, the bills still need to be paid. In a plenary guardianship, your guardian is responsible for your finances, including personal accounts and any businesses you own. It’s essential to appoint someone you trust to be your guardian, especially if you’re an entrepreneur or you own a business, because this person will be in charge of critical financial decisions.