Guardianship vs. Power of Attorney

On occasion people have asked me to explain the difference between guardianship and power of attorney and which one is appropriate for them. While I cannot answer that for your specific situation, I think having a little knowledge before talking to a lawyer is a good thing. By having a little bit of knowledge you know what questions you should ask.

PLEASE NOTE: The Law Offices of Michaella Levandoski, PLLC is not offering legal advice, and the use of this website does not create an attorney-client relationship.

In the simplest terms guardianship is when the court appoints someone to make decisions for you and advocate on your behalf. In the simplest terms a power of attorney is when a person who decides will help make decisions on their behalf and delegates authority to that person.  North Carolina Judicial Branch has a great website that explains the different types of guardianship and how it is different from from a power of attorney.

If you or a loved one is in need of a guardian or power of attorney, before heading to a lawyer I recommend looking at the North Carolina Judicial Branch’s website. Knowing what is available in your state or other states, can help you ask what is would be best for your specific situation. Is a limited guardianship what you need? or is a Power of Attorney the better option?

It is important to remember that a Google search is not a replacement for the legal knowledge your attorney has, it can help you go in with questions to ask.

Two questions I highly recommend asking your lawyer if you think guardianship is something you will have to get for a loved one are:

1. What have we not asked about that you think we know or understand? This can help your lawyer make sure you understand legal terms or a chance to make sure you have thought about an option that may not have been brought up or fully discussed.

2. What is something that most people going through this process get surprised and/or frustrated about?  This will allow your lawyer to help you get a realistic picture of what will happen, when it will happen, and give you a good idea of the overall process.


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