There are many alternatives to declaring a guardianship over an individual. The idea of an alternative to guardianship is appealing to many people, because it will allow the individual to retain some independence in making life decisions. If there are family members or close friends who are willing to take on the role to help a person who otherwise is unable to make all life decision for himself or herself, then an alternative to a guardianship may be the right move.
This position will most likely not be taken up by a well-meaning neighbor or casual friend, as it will come with major responsibilities to continue the role for many years into the future. It will not do to have a person with good intentions to take over this role, only to back out a year later deciding it is “too much” responsibility or time and effort to manage for the individual who needs it.
Alternatives to Guardianship
Here are some ideas to use instead of going for a full guardianship for an individual, who is not able to perform the daily tasks of making care decisions for himself or herself:
- It may be possible to get someone to pay a person’s bills through a formal money management program. This will help with the everyday management of the individual’s money and bank accounts.
- If there are responsible family members who want to watch over an individual who needs help making the right financial decisions, a joint checking account may help in that case. This will allow another person close to the individual to oversee what cash is coming in as deposits and taken out as withdrawals from the person’s checking account on a weekly basis.
- There can be a representative payee designated to receive the individual’s government benefits. That person can oversee the paying of all housing and food bills with that money that comes in every month.
- There can be documents that are used to designate a person to make important decisions for a person only when needed, with a durable power of attorney, a living will, or with a medical power of attorney.
- It may be possible to find or identify a surrogate decision-making person who is ready to step in and make health care decisions in some instances.
- It is also possible to use community outreach services to help an individual who is struggling to live and handle daily tasks alone. For example, it may be possible to get daily well-being checks for the individual through social services, have meals delivered by a home-delivery meal system in the community, have transportation to the grocery store arranged by a senior ride service or contact social services for other necessary services that may be available for the individual living alone who needs assistance.
If you have any questions regarding alternatives to a formal guardianship, then get in touch with a Texas estate planning lawyer to learn more about your rights.