Legal Options to Protect Your Elderly Loved Ones
Last week the world lost an incredible talent with a warm heart, Gene Wilder. The actor was best known for his iconic role in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. What many may have not known is that Wilder suffered from Alzheimer’s Disease. Alzheimer’s is an irreversible and progressive disease that attacks the mind. Experts estimate more than 5 million Americans currently have Alzheimer’s. Those with loved ones or who know someone that suffered from this illness or similar, understand how debilitating it is. Although symptoms vary, many face cognitive impairment, spatial or visual issues, and worsening judgment and ability to reason. When an adult can no longer care for their physical or financial needs, your loved one may benefit from a conservatorship.


Conservatorship is one option when bearing the responsibility of caring for your loved one with declining mental ability. In Connecticut, you can petition to appoint a conservator in your local Probate Court by filing the requisite forms.
In doing so, you must show that your loved one’s condition prevents them from performing day-to-day functions necessary for their own well-being.
There are two types of conservatorship:
(1) conservator for the person who cannot care for their own needs. (2) conservator of the estate, if one is unable to care for their own financial affairs due to some encumbrance, such as a medical condition.
Conservatorship can be critical to protecting your loved one’s rights, especially against the potential for theft, or simple mismanagement of funds. It is not clear whether Gene Wilder’s family had conservatorship over him, but it’s not uncommon for someone suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease.

Power of Attorney

Power of Attorney (POA) is another option when caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or a similar illness. A power of attorney gives another equal power and authority to make all legal and financial decisions on behalf of your loved one.
A POA is free from regular oversight, but it is possible to seek the court’s protection with a conservatorship if the family doesn’t trust what’s going on with the management of assets. The family also has a right to seek accounting for who holds POA under limited circumstances.
A POA can be an attractive option because it allows your loved one to choose what authority they want to give. For example, any decisions about your loved one’s bank accounts or real estate. The downside is that it only pertains to one’s finances or business affairs.

Health Care Directive

A power of attorney is typically coupled with a health care directive. This allows your loved one to make health care decisions while of sound mind and then choose another to carry out their wishes by proxy.
As we celebrate the life of Gene Wilder you might be wondering which legal option is right for your family? If so, we are here to help you.
Contact the Law Offices of Charles Kurmay, for help in appointing a conservator or probate lawyer for any matter.
Our skilled and experienced attorneys assist clients in probate matters, which range from regular estate administration to very complex probate litigation. We regularly litigate in the Probate and Superior Courts in Connecticut and in New York. Our team helps clients plan their estates, drafting wills and trusts while assisting with tax and Medicaid planning to protect the hard-working earned wealth they generated over the course of their lives.
If this or anything similar has happened to you, please call us at (203) 380-1743. We are available to talk anytime.