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A trust can keep the court from choosing a guardian

You know that injuries, disease or aging could lead to a disability. You may become mentally incapacitated. For instance, those who get diagnosed with Alzheimer's may slowly see their mental abilities decline, even when in good physical health.

By no means are you at that point yet. You feel fine. However, you've read the statistics and you know it's a potential outcome in your future. You want to be ready.

If you do not set anything up in advance, the court may have to name a guardian or a conservator to help take over some of your affairs. Often, this focuses on the financial side of things. You may need to pay taxes, apply for government benefits, access your retirement savings, and the like. If you lose the ability to do all of this yourself, the court can appoint someone to help you do it.

To avoid a court-appointed guardian, one option is to put your assets into a trust. You can name yourself as the trustee right now, so you don't lose access to those assets. You can then pick someone of your own choosing to be a successor trustee. If you lose the ability to manage the trust on your own for any reason, that person then gets control over it and can help with your financial needs.

Doing this streamlines the process, it keeps the court out of it, and it ensures that you can pick exactly who you want to be involved. Though it's not an overly complicated process, it's important to get it right, so make sure you know what steps to take.

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