Drafting a last will and testament may not be a top priority. Yet, estate planning is important for people at any age, especially if you have young children or are the caregiver of an adult. It is important to know who will take care of your loved ones should something unexpected happen, rendering you unable to make critical decisions regarding their care. Appointing a guardian in your last will and testament may be one of the  most critical decisions you make, and it is essential that you understand what types of guardianships are available. 

In addition to appointing a guardian to care for minor children, you can declare someone as guardian of an incapcitated adult or elder citizen. If you are unable to maintain care of that person, the guardian will be given legal rights to make decisions on their behalf. Full guardianship gives full responsibility and decision-making rights over a person’s financial, medical and legal affairs. 

Limited guardianship, on the other hand, gives the guardian selected rights over an individual. For example, a limited guardian may only have decision-making rights over a person’s property, trust or medical care. Those areas may differ depending on the unique circumstances of each case. 

Finally, joint guardianship is given when more than one person is given the title of guardian and have shared responsibilities in making critical decisions. A couple may be granted joint guardianship over a child whose parents have passed. Guardianships can be temporary or permanent as well.

This information is intended to educate and should not be taken as legal advice.