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Information about all aspects of finances affected by a serious health condition. Includes income sources such as work, investments, and private and government disability programs, and expenses such as medical bills, and how to deal with financial problems.
Information about all aspects of health care from choosing a doctor and treatment, staying safe in a hospital, to end of life care. Includes how to obtain, choose and maximize health insurance policies.
Answers to your practical questions such as how to travel safely despite your health condition, how to avoid getting infected by a pet, and what to say or not say to an insurance company.


Appointing a guardian is one method of assuring that if you become incapacitated, the best person to take care of you and your finances is in place. While the decision about who to appoint is up to a judge, your wishes will be generally be respected unless there is a valid reason not to do so.

Having a say in the matter is particularly important if you are married or have a significant other and you don't believe that person is the best person to make decisions about your care and/or your finances.

The main advantage of a court appointed guardian over an alternative such as using a durable power of attorney is that the guardian will be supervised by an independent judge. Also, when attempting to do a transaction, the authority of a guardian is less likely to be questioned than that of a person holding a power of attorney. The result is transactions are more likely to happen on a timely basis.

When thinking about the person to choose as your guardian, it is advisable to choose a competent person who understands your wishes and shares your values -- or at least will respect and honor them.

You can choose a personal guardian and a financial guardian, or one person can take on both roles just like you do. For factors to consider when choosing a guardian, click here

It is advisable to name an alternate guardian in case your first choice can't serve, is not acceptable to the court, or stops serving for any reason.

Open communication with your potential guardian is essential to be sure your wishes are carried out. For information about What To Communicate To A Prospective Guardian, click here.

If you have children, consider who will take care of them if something happens to you. Appointing a guardian for your children is one of several choices.

Let the person or people you name as guardian or substitute guardian know:

  • How to locate your assets (a List of Instructions helps keep track).
  • Where to find your passwords (such as to confidential information you store on our site).
  • Your values and desires.

Factors to Consider When Choosing A Guardian For Yourself

In most states you can name any adult to be your guardian.

  • Clearly you should only name someone you trust absolutely. Even though a court oversees guardians, a guardian can do a lot of damage and make ill advised transactions that would severely damage you or your financial interests.
  • The person does not have to be a lawyer or even financially savvy as long as the person has good judgment in hiring the appropriate professionals.
  • The person should have a good understanding of the areas in which he or she will be given decision-making powers.
  • You should generally name someone who knows you well. The better the agent knows you and your family, the more likely his or her actions will reflect your opinions and values.
  • Preferably the person is not someone who has conflicts with your spouse, significant other, or children.
  • The person's background should be able to withstand close examination by a judge. The court will probably check to see if the person is reputable. Any kind of criminal record can disqualify the person from serving as guardian.
  • Ideally the person is the same person you appoint as your Proxy under your Health Care Power Of Attorney so there is no conflict in carrying out your wishes.
  • If you have children, consider whether the person should also be guardian for your children.

Consider naming multiple agents who must agree in order to exercise powers. This will allow for a system of checks and balances between them and make it more likely that your best interest will remain paramount. On the other hand, this arrangement may also slow things down if something has to move quickly

What To Communicate With A Prospective Guardian

Discuss your views to be sure you and the prospective guardian are in sync about what you want in your personal and financial life.

  • Include your views on:
    • Handling your financial affairs.
    • The people you support, how you want it done, and for how long.
    • Who to trust for what professional advice.
    • How to run your business or who is the best person to run it.
    • Your beliefs about end-of-life.
    • Any other matters of importance to you.
  • Does the prospective guardian share your views? If not, is he or she willing to abide by them? Do you believe the person will live up to his or her agreement?

It is advisable to have a similar discussion with any person you consider as an alternative guardian as well.

Write a letter that includes your thoughts and feelings about the matters you discuss -- or record your conversation with your choice for guardian. It will be a reminder about your wishes in case any questions arise.

Try to find a balance between making your thoughts known and including too much detail. You want your guardian to be able to be flexible as facts and times change, while adhering to the essence of what you care about. Give a copy of the letter or recording to each guardian and alternate. Store an additional copy with your Will.


  • Give your potential Guardian a copy of your List of Instructions so he or she has a place to start when figuring out what needs to be done. If you haven't completed your List, now is the time to start.
  • Let the person or people you name as guardian or substitute guardian know where to find your passwords (such as to confidential information you store on our site).

Where to find your passwords (such as to confidential information you store on our site).

Last, but not least, if you have a spouse or significant other, and you are not naming that person as Guardian, discuss with that person who you are naming and why.

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More Information

List Of Instructions