When you’re involved in estate planning, one of the things that comes up is the need for a guardianship. If you have children, then guardianships may be used to define who would take care of them if you could no longer do so.

Guardianships aren’t just for children, though. Guardianships can also be used to assume control over an adult’s decision-making capabilities. They can be used for anyone lacking capacity, whether those individuals are children, the elderly or those with special needs.

Who should you assign to be a guardian in your estate plan?

Selecting a guardian is not always easy. If you’re choosing a guardian for your children, you should find someone whom you believe is trustworthy and that would provide them with a good home. You may want to select two guardians, one for handling your children’s finances (a conservator) and another as a guardian over their physical care and rearing.

The same is true for those with special needs. You may assign specific parties to become conservators and take care of your loved one’s financial needs and others to take care of their physical and medical care.

Should you assign a guardian for yourself?

It is not a bad idea to have a guardianship and conservatorship set up for yourself when certain requirements are met. For example, if you develop Alzheimer’s disease and know that you will be unable to make decisions about your care in the future, your attorney can help you set up a guardianship that would go into effect once your condition worsened to the point that you couldn’t make decisions on your own any longer. You may select to place your financial matters into the hands of a fiduciary such as an accountant or trustee, or you might opt to leave them in the hands of your child, sibling or another loved one.

Guardianships and conservatorships are both important in an estate plan. They are often overlooked as only being needed when children are included as heirs, but anyone could need the support of a guardian or conservator in the future. Choosing now allows you to select the people you think are best for those roles.