The Importance of Selecting a Guardian

Do you have a relative that you would not want in charge of your life? The answer is probably yes, but what have you done to prevent it? Sometimes decisions or the failure to make decisions in life have a bigger impact than we may imagine. No one can predict when a life-threatening event will occur. Therefore, being prepared is best. In the event you have a stroke or are involved in an accident and cannot communicate, then what will happen? Who will pay your bills, manage your affairs, decide whether you should have life support? Failing to name a guardian does not mean you won't have one. Failing to name someone could have unintended consequences.

Unintended Selection

If you have not taken the steps to formally name a guardian or agent in a power of attorney, then the job may be up for grabs. If you have a live-in boyfriend/girlfriend, then they may claim you have a common law marriage. In such case, it would give them an opportunity to oversee your life and property. I have seen cases in which a couple lived apart for 10 years but did not formally divorce. The man had a long-term girlfriend. When he was hospitalized and unresponsive, guess who had the legal authority to determine whether he would remain on life support? That is right . . . his estranged wife. A wife he had not seen in a decade.

How to Select Guardian

To ensure you control who will be selected to oversee your affairs and your life, you can take certain steps. One such step is to have a Declaration of Guardian. It will become effective in the event you become incapacitated. The Declaration of Guardianship can also be used to disqualify any named persons from serving as the guardian of your person or estate. The Declaration of Guardianship must be executed with the same formalities as a will. In other words, it requires 2 witnesses and a notary.

Other options to control who will be in charge include having a Durable Power of Attorney. This is used to name a person to serve as the guardian of your estate (property). Another option is a Medical Power of Attorney. This is used to name a person to serve as guardian over your person. The person you appoint should be someone you can trust with your life, literally, and your property. You do not want someone who will misuse your property and leave nothing for you in the event you are no longer incapacitated. Or, someone wo will leave nothing for your family to inherit if you pass away. Or, someone who will be better off if you die.


To discuss the options that best fit your situation, contact the Law Office of Hugh Spires, Jr. for a free consultation. It is easy to contact us. You can send us a message through the contact form at, email at or call us as 210-874-5700.