What is the Difference between Guardianship and a Power of Attorney?

Power of Attorney vs Guardianship for seniorsBoth a power of attorney and guardianship are tools to assist someone who is unable to make financial or medical decisions for him or herself by appointing an agent or guardian to act in their stead. However, these tools differ in their responsibilities and the freedom and control they give to the elder or person with special needs.

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Guardianship of Special Needs Adults

down syndrome coupleWhen a special needs child becomes a legal adult, the power of choice is transferred from parents or guardians to the special needs adult. In order for important decisions about medical treatments, personal finance and everyday life to be made correctly, parents or loved ones should consider filing for guardianship.

Types of Guardianship

There are two main types of guardianship. Becoming the legal guardian of a person allows you to make important decisions about healthcare, housing, food, clothing and other care needs. You can also be the guardian of property, which gives you the power to make decisions about your loved one’s finances, income, property and public benefits. In many cases, you can receive both types of guardianship depending on how much assistance your loved one needs.

When is a guardian necessary?

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The Basics of Guardianship

Guardianship is a legal tool that grants a parent or other adult the authority to make legal decisions for a child or legally disabled adult.

There are different types of guardianship:

  • Guardianship of Estate – where the guardian is responsible for financial and estate matters only
  • Guardianship of Person –  where the guardian is responsible for non-financial decision making
  • Plenary Guardianship of Person and Estate – which entails full guardianship of person and estate

Each type of guardianship can also be in the form of limited guardianship which means the court can choose to let an incapacitated person retain any rights he/she is capable of exercising on his/her own. There is also something called co-guardianship which can be of person, estate or both when two people share the decision making responsibility equally. Continue Reading The Basics of Guardianship