Most of us prefer not to think about the possibility that we will be unable to handle our own finances one day due to the natural aging process or a disease such as Alzheimer’s. Burying your head in the sand though could result in you losing control of all of your estate assets at a later point in time through an involuntary conservatorship petition. Taking the time now to plan for the possibility, however, could prevent that from happening.
An involuntary conservatorship petition can typically be filed by anyone who is concerned about your ability to handle your estate. If the court is convinced that you are, indeed, unable to handle your affairs, then a conservator will be appointed. Generally the person who filed the petition will be appointed as conservator. Naturally, you can object to the petition, or to the person, but over 90 percent of all involuntary petitions for conservatorship are granted. Once the individual has the powers of a conservator, they basically have control over all of your estate assets.
Preventing this from happening is relatively easy. Talk to your estate planning attorney now about creating an incapacity plan. By executing a durable power of attorney or creating a revocable trust with an incapacity clause, you can decide who will control your estate if you are unable to do so. You may even be able to decide what constitutes “incapacitated” instead of letting a court decide for you down the road.