Thursday, July 23, 2015

Preserve and Protect

After Wes’ mountain climbing accident left him unable to care for himself, his daughter Meg successfully petitioned the court to be named his guardian.  She knew she was needed to take care of his financial matters and make other decisions, too.

As his guardian, her paramount duty as seen by the court is to conserve and protect Wes’ assets, so that the assets and income are applied to Wes’ use, enjoyment and benefit.  She must handle his affairs the same way a good and conscientious business person would handle her own affairs.

The court may hold Meg liable for any mismanagement of Wes’ estate.  Meg earlier purchased a guardian’s bond, actually an insurance policy, to guarantee her good performance of her duties.  But, if she is found to have mismanaged Wes’ estate, she can be held personally liable. 

That means Meg might have to pay back any of Wes’ money she is deemed to have wasted out of her own pocket.  The guardian’s bond will not ‘save’ Meg from paying for any mistakes; it just helps to assure that Illinois, which might through its Medicaid program end up paying his nursing home bills if Wes were penniless, will receive some money to cover those expenses if they are caused by mismanagement mistakes.  This is part of why Illinois, through its probate guardianship laws, wants to be protect Wes and his money by making requirements to minimize the risk that Wes will be left without resources.

Estate planning can help give guidance to any needed future guardian or agent selected by you.  For help planning your estate, call our office at (815) 436-1996 for an appointment.

© 2015 Gruber Law Office, Ltd.

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