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What Does Protected Person Status Mean for Estate Planning?

There are certain individuals who need to be protected because they are unable to care for themselves. The most obvious example of this is a minor: a child under the age of 18 that is incapable of providing their own food and shelter. However, some adults also require protection such as those with mental or physical disabilities or any type of incapacitation that makes it unable for them to care for themselves and their finances.

If the parent or caregiver of these individuals passes away, a court proceeding will be initiated that will give them the status of protected person. This type of court proceeding is sometimes referred to as a protected person proceeding.  In this case, the court will appoint a conservator and/or a guardian to manage the finances and/or well-being of the protected person.

Conservator vs. Guardian

The conservator will handle finances such as making safe investments, paying bills, paying taxes, managing any incoming income, selling/buying property, etc. In contrast, the guardian will handle healthcare, education, basic necessities and general well-being decisions for the protected person. The protected person may need just one or both appointments to be made on their behalf. The courts make this determination.

Because these roles are very important to the future of the protected person, you may want to have more control over who is ultimately chosen to care of your loved one. You have the power to name a specific person (or several different people) to take over these responsibilities in your estate planning documents.  However, these designations must be made while you are fully able to understand what you are signing and express your wishes.

The designation of durable power of attorney and the stipulations for their decision-making power must be clearly outlined in your estate planning documents. For this reason, it is advisable to have an estate attorney help you complete the proper paperwork. The Colorado estate lawyers at The Brown Law Firm, LLC can help you create comprehensive estate documents for the best level of protection for your loved ones. Contact us today at (303) 339-3750 or send us a message online to schedule an appointment.