Many guardianship proceedings can be easily avoided. The way to avoid such a proceeding is exceedingly simple. The only limitation is that there must be at least a little bit of planning.
A durable power of attorney is, simply stated, the biggest bang for the buck. It is easy, very inexpensive, and very fast.
It must, however, be done prior to the time at which the person loses the capacity to make his or her decisions. That's because a person who is substantially incapacitated will also lack the capacity to execute a power of attorney.
Can a quick, easy, cheap solution really prevent the expenditure of several thousands of dollars in a guardianship proceeding? Yes.
The power of attorney should be given only to a trusted family member, close friend, for professional. If you want a power of attorney for yourself, make sure that you first consult the person whom you wish to appoint, so that you will know that the person will be willing to accept those responsibilities. Also you should give some thought to precisely which powers you wish to give that person.
It's always wise to consult an attorney about a power of attorney before the time at which it is actually needed.