VanAntwerp Attorneys, LLP
Phone: 606-618-0698

Estate planning can preserve assets for your care

Dementia is a health condition taking center stage in the awareness of people across the U.S. This is as true in Kentucky as anywhere. The issue came to the news forefront again this week with word of the rapid decline of noted comedic actor and Ohio native, Tim Conway. The slip into dementia for the 84-year-old entertainer is now the source of court action as his adult daughter seeks appointment as his conservator.

Documents filed by Conway's 56-year-old daughter in a California court claim that her father's current wife is seeking to move the wheelchair-confined actor to a different skilled nursing facility. Conway's daughter says he will lose access to 24-hour nursing care and therapists who work with him on his swallowing. She seeks appointment as his conservator to manage his ongoing medical needs.

This is not a unique situation. Many of the baby boom generation are experiencing similar challenges as they try to ensure their aging parents are well cared for, even as they try to honor their elders' desires for maximum independence.

Attorneys with experience in estate planning know that assigning power-of-attorney to a trusted loved one who can effectively serve as guardian or conservator to a testator is something that can be done as part of a comprehensive estate plan. However, the testator must be of sound mind at the time the plan is created.

Kentucky law does provide for the appointment of either a guardian or conservator outside of an estate plan when conditions call for it. But it means initiating legal action that can involve holding a jury trial. This is because such an appointment significantly changes the affected person's legal status, and that is action the state does not want to take without exercising due process.

If you have concerns that a loved one lacks capacity to take care of him or herself and is in need of a guardian or conservator, you have a right to consider petitioning the court. But before taking such action, consult an attorney to understand the implications and explore all the options that might exist.

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