Guardianship of a Person
Guardianship is when the court appoints someone to manage health and financial decisions for a person who lacks the capacity to do so. A guardianship can usually be avoided with early estate planning, but in cases where a family member has lost the ability to manage their own affairs and does not have a financial or a health care power of attorney, it can become necessary.
Guardianship of the Estate
A guardian of the estate has all the financial powers and authorities of the person for whom he or she is guardian including the right to sue or defend a claim at law, the right to enforce and enter into contract, and the right to buy, sell or otherwise manage assets, all on behalf of the person of unsound mind. In many ways, a guardian of the estate functions as if he or she had an unlimited power of attorney from the unsound person.
The office or duty of one who legally has the care and management of the person and the estate of someone who the court has determined lacks the capacity to do so.
The process of having a guardian appointed for a family member can be stressful and costly. We try to work with the family to make this process as comfortable and easy as possible. The family member and the proposed guardian will have to make at least one appearance in front of the court clerk. If your family member is determined to need a guardian, the clerk will determine whether or not the guardian will need to look after all of the family member’s financial and health care decisions or whether they should retain the right to make some decision for themselves. It is important to work with your attorney to get the best result for your family member.