New Mexico is considering new laws to limit abuses of power from guardians and conservators.
Let us say you have done your estate planning.
This even included a trust.
You gave clear guidelines in the trust to how the money is to be used.
Then you become incapacitated and are appointed a guardian.
Can the guardian access the trust and work around the guidelines to use the money for you ... or themselves?
According to a recent The Albuquerque Journal article titled “Who guards the guardians? Estate planning questioned in hearing,” this could be done rather easily under the current laws.
Is something being done about the issue?
The New Mexico health and human services committee gave a report and proposed 18 reforms to guardianship laws after a study commissioned by its Supreme Court.
What are some of the proposed reforms?
For one, the issue of the trust is addressed.
Although in some instances a trust must be accessed in the best interests of the incapacitated party, more proof will be required to do so.
The guardians will be tasked with providing this proof to the judges.
In short, honoring the trust will be the top priority.
The value of more in depth audits was also proposed.
This would help protect the incapacitated individual from losing money from embezzlement by nefarious guardians.
If New Mexico incorporates the reforms, they will put checks in place to how much power a guardian possesses.
Ultimately, this will help empower and protect potential victims.
Remember: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” When making your financial, tax and estate plans, do not go it alone. Be sure to engage competent professional counsel.
For more information about estate planning in Overland Park, KS (and throughout the rest of Kansas and Missouri), visit our estate planning website and be sure to subscribe to our complimentary estate planning e-newsletter while you are there.
Reference: Albuquerque Journal (November 5, 2017) “Who guards the guardians? Estate planning questioned in hearing”