When it comes to inheritance, people will think it’s the parents leaving behind their shares to their children. If we are to go by life’s timeline, then obviously your parents will get old and die first. Whatever assets, money, and properties the parents have, they can and will leave it to their surviving children.
What if the scenario is reversed? If the child has amassed quite a huge wealth of assets, properties, and money, and they’ve unfortunately passed away earlier than their elderly parents. What will happen to the properties they have left behind?
Having a Legal Will in Place First
By the end of the day, it all starts with whether if the child has a legal will in place or not. To have a legal will, the child has to be:
- Or legal age
- Of sound mind at the point of creating the will and legalizing it
- Have the will in writing and signed
Don’t forget that the rules that applies to all legalized wills still stand: that you will need at least 2 witnesses who will sign your wills as well. Everyone in the party has to be present during the will signing. Beneficiaries named in the wills cannot be witnesses. Find someone who isn’t a beneficiary to be your witness instead.
Your elderly parents can be named beneficiaries in your will too. So can your siblings, your relatives, and friends. If you do not have a legal will in place, then the court will decide your assets’ fate. They will appoint an executor to disseminate and divide up the properties according to the Distribution Act (1958, revised 1983).
What if your elderly parents cannot handle the assets you left behind?
If your elderly parents cannot handle the trust and assets that you have left behind for them, it’s understandable. When parents become old, they may face many health problems that prevent them from functioning 100% as proper person in society.
If they have issues with handling the assets, you may consider appointing a legal guardian and/or a conservator.
A legal guardian is usually appointed for a child whose parents have either passed away or have been incarcerated. However, in this case, a legal guardian can also be appointed for elderly parents who can no longer look after themselves. Legal guardians are usually appointed when the individual cannot take care of themselves. They may be physically disabled or be mentally challenged. Thus, this is when a legal guardian is appointed.
Legal guardians oversee the overall well-being of the individual. They can help make medical decisions, social decisions, and personal decisions on behalf of the individual. Legal guardians don’t usually oversee the financial side of things. However, if they need to spend the individual’s money on the individual themselves for their benefit, then the legal guardian will have to seek court approval first. If there is no court approval, then the legal guardian cannot use the money as it may be for their own benefit.
A conservator, however, oversees the financial and asset management side of things. They make sure that the estate and everything surrounding it are well-taken care of and managed. It’s similar to what legal guardians do except for the assets and properties left behind. Conservators also cannot simply sell off the assets and properties of the individuals without first seeking approval from the court. If they ever do sell off the properties without court approval, they will be acting in self-interest instead.
If you fear your elderly parents not being able to look after themselves and the properties that are being left behind for them, you can always appoint legal guardians and conservators for them. You may appoint someone you know very well or feel comfortable with too.
If you need help and advice about legal guardians and conservators for your elderly parents, feel free to reach out to us today for assistance. We are more than happy to help you.