Information & Tools

At CunninghamLegal, we want to educate and inform our clients and the community with various resources and tools on estate planning, living wills, trusts, IRA tax strategies, business planning, and trust administration. When a loved one passes away, we are often left at a loss for which direction to turn. Similarly, we encourage our clients to plan for the future, to protect our heirs, beneficiaries, and children from making difficult decisions.

We offer the following tools as a resource and guides for various areas in estate planning.

Information On Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s disease (AD), also known as Alzheimer disease, or just Alzheimer’s, accounts for 60% to 70% of cases of dementia. It is a chronic neurodegenerative disease that usually starts slowly and gets worse over time. The most common early symptom is difficulty in remembering recent events (short term memory loss). As the disease advances, symptoms can include: problems with language, disorientation (including easily getting lost), mood swings, loss of motivation, not managing self-care, and behavioral issues. As a person’s condition declines, she or he often withdraws from family and society. Gradually, bodily functions are lost, ultimately leading to death. Although the speed of progression can vary, the average life expectancy following diagnosis is three to nine years. Source: Wikipedia

How Alzheimer’s Works – Video

Alzheimer’s Statistics & Facts 2015-Video

Law Practices We’ve Acquired

  • T. Dale Pease – 2004
  • American Law Center – 2007
  • Diedre Wachbrit – 2007
  • Mark A. Hyjek – 2013
  • Ann Armstrong – 2013
  • Nordman – 2016
  • George R. Berninger – 2016
  • James L. Spencer – 2016
  • Stephen P. Bezaire – 2017

Guardianship of the Person & Guardianship of the Estate

Guardianship is when a court orders someone other than the child’s parent to:

  • Have custody of the child; or
  • Manage the child’s property (called “estate”); or
  • Both

Guardianship of the Person

In a guardianship of the person, the guardian has the same responsibilities to care for the child as a parent would. That means the guardian has full legal and physical custody of the child and can make decisions about the physical care of the child that a parent would make. A guardian can be relatives, friends of the family, or other people suitable to raise the child.

The guardian is responsible for the child’s care, including the child’s:

  • Food, clothing and shelter
  • Safety and protection
  • Physical and emotional growth
  • Medical and dental care
  • Education and any special needs

The guardian is also be responsible for supervision of the child and may be liable for any intentional damage the child may cause.

A guardianship of the person is sometimes needed when, no matter how much parents love their child, they are not able to parent. It’s possible that one or both parents:

  • Have a serious physical or mental illness
  • Are in the military and are stationed overseas
  • Are admitted to a rehabilitation program
  • Are in jail or prison
  • Have a drug or alcohol abuse problem
  • Have a history of being abusive
  • Cannot take care of their child for some other reason

The court will determine what is in the best interest of the child to make sure the child is raised in a safe, stable, and loving environment. A legal guardian can care for a child when the parents are unable to.

Guardianship of the Estate

A guardianship of the estate is set up to manage a child’s income, money, or other property until the child turns 18. A child may need a guardian of the estate if he or she inherits money or assets. In most cases, the court appoints the surviving parent to be the guardian of the child’s estate.

In some cases the same person can be the guardian of the person and of the estate. In other cases, the court will appoint two different people.

The guardian of the estate must:

  • Manage the child’s money
  • Make smart investments
  • Manage the child’s property carefully

A guardianship of the estate is created to manage a child’s property. It is needed when:

  • The child owns or receives valuable property, such as a child inheriting a house or a large amount of money

A guardianship of the estate is not needed when:

  • A child only owns inexpensive toys and clothing
  • The child receives social security benefits or TANF/CalWorks (welfare).

Happy family portrait with a loving elderly couple hugging their laughing young granddaughter and grandson while posing in the living room

If you or someone you know needs assistance with guardianship of a person or an estate, please call us at 530-269-1515

Important Forms

Estate Planning Quiz

Confidential Estate Planning Questionnaire

Agreement to Close Law Practice in the Future