Understanding guardianships in Massachusetts

Have you ever wondered what happens to a person’s estate, belongings and financial obligations in the event that they become incapacitated? If you’re like a lot of Americans, the thought has probably crossed your mind at least once in your life because of a personal experience or because of someone else’s story. But do you know the solution to this very real problem or are you like some of our Massachusetts readers and are curious to find out?

Because most people have a very limited understanding of the law, a question like the one above can be difficult to answer, which can lead to frustration and confusion about what to do next. In today’s post though we’d like to show our readers that all is not lost if a loved one becomes incapacitated. Some protection for the person can be provided with the help of a guardianship.

A guardianship, as some of you may not know, is a court ordered appointment of one individual to make sure that the rights and wishes of an incapacitated person are being protected. Depending on the type of guardianship that is granted, decisions regarding health care, personal care and other day-to-day matters may be made on the incapacitated person’s behalf.

If you are worried about your incapacitated loved one’s finances, then you should know that Massachusetts law has an answer for this as well: a conservatorship. As a document on the Massachusetts Court System website explains, conservators typically handle finances, business affairs and manage property for a person who is unable to communicate or make decisions about their estate because of a diagnosed impairment.

Establishing a guardianship or conservatorship is no easy task, especially for someone who does not have the right legal background for the job. That’s why it’s considered a good idea to talk to a lawyer and get their help with the process. Because of their experience with the law, you can make sure that you’re establishing the right legal relationship for the situation at hand.