Guardianship occurs when a court appoints someone to manage the health and financial decisions of a person who lacks the capacity to do so. This term can also apply to a person making decisions for an estate and/or personal property. Called a “guardian,” the person appointed by the court has a duty to manage the incapacitated person’s affairs to the best of their ability.
The incapacitated person in a guardianship is also given the opportunity to make decisions insofar as their capacity to do so allows. The ward could be an elderly person who has lost their capacity to make decisions, but could also be a minor special needs child who is approaching 18 years of age and is unable to manage his/her affairs in other ways.
Guardianship can typically be avoided with estate planning, but it is necessary when a family member has lost the ability to manage their affairs and has not left any financial or healthcare power of attorney documents behind.
The role of guardianship can extend to the following:
- Guardianship of a Person. The guardian of a person is appointed to make decisions related to medical and physical care, custody, and control of an incapacitated person. The guardian has no authority over the financial or legal matters of the ward.
- Guardianship of an Estate. The guardian of an estate has all the financial powers and authorities of the ward. This position is comparable to having an unlimited power of attorney from the ward.
- General Guardianship. A general guardian will serve as a caretaker of both the person and their estate.
When a person does not have proper estate planning set in place, the process of being adjudicated incompetent and having a guardian appointed can be stressful and costly. Such a case is likely to enter guardianship litigation or contested guardianship, which must be settled in the courtroom. Without a qualified guardianship and estate planning attorney, these issues are complex and can take months - and thousands of dollars - to complete.
The attorneys of Salines-Mondello Law Firm, PC work closely with the family as the process of guardianship takes place. Our attorneys specialize in not only regular cases of guardianship, but also more complex issues such as guardianship litigation. We can help guide you through the various procedures required to attain guardianship over your incapacitated loved one—including appearances in front of the court clerk. Since the clerk will make vital decisions regarding your ability as a guardian, working with one of our attorneys can prove invaluable to fighting for your loved one’s safety and decision-making. We provide only the best compassionate legal care to both you and your entire family.
To work with a guardianship attorney in North Carolina today, contact the office of Salines-Mondello Law Firm, PC by phone at (910) 777-5734 and set up your first, fully confidential consultation.