February 04, 2022
Difference between Guardianships and Powers of Attorney
Guardianships for elders come into play when an adult has an issue that leads to a mental disability. Dementia is one example. If a senior cannot make responsible decisions for themselves, the courts can appoint someone to take over that role.
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You may hear the term “guardian” used for this position, or perhaps “conservator.” The guardian has the authorization to make decisions on important matters such as healthcare, finances, and legal proceedings. Some situations will require the guardian to obtain court approval. In other cases, a separate person may be named as “conservator” of finances and another as “guardian” in charge of other matters.
These positions aren’t delegated lightly. Having one’s independence handed to another is profound. Elder lawyers like myself work with the family to exhaust other options first. One such option is creating a power of attorney. This is similar to guardianship in that it appoints someone to make decisions on the senior’s behalf… only the senior has much more say in the powers given and who will be making decisions if they are unable.
Keep in mind that powers of attorney can be as limited as the client prefers. The biggest difference is that the individual chooses the power of attorney agent in advance, whereas the courts appoint a guardian in an emergency situation. Seniors should work with an elder lawyer to draw up powers of attorney, so they can choose someone they trust with their best interests in mind.
Castle Wealth Group and Christopher Berry have been helping families with estate planning, elder law, retirement planning, tax planning, and asset protection. It has been their goal to help you keep more of what you worked so hard to earn.