If your loved one can no longer fulfill day-to-day tasks and functions, it could be time to appoint a guardian for them. The guardianship process is a safe and beneficial way to make sure that they are properly cared for.
With the guidance of an experienced estate planning attorney, both guardian and ward can rest easy knowing that the future is secure. A Cary guardianship lawyer can help you through the appointment process and give you the peace of mind that your loved one is in good hands.
There are two distinct areas that a guardian can be appointed to oversee, and a combination of the two that allows both areas to be included. Both forms of guardianship allow an individual to manage their loved one’s life when they can no longer care for themselves, but each role requires different tasks.
The guardian of the person cares for the individual’s physical and personal needs and ensures they are fed, clothed, housed, and kept safe. Most importantly, the guardian is responsible for two essential items: residential placement and medical decision making.
These responsibilities might include securing suitable living conditions and arranging medical services and treatment for their ward. The guardian of a person is expected to take into account their wishes, financial circumstances, and physical needs.
A guardian of the estate is responsible for overseeing the ward’s financial matters. They are tasked with budgeting, preserving and protecting the ward’s assets. They may also distribute income and appraise property on their ward’s behalf.
Guardianship of the estate is most often used when a person cannot manage their own financial affairs but has enough income or assets that require management. The guardian is required to regularly report to the courts on the status of the estate, or how money was spent. If the potential ward does not have financial assets, guardianship of the estate is generally not granted.
The clerk of court has the ability to grant both guardianship of the person and guardianship of the estate, if both are warranted, as what is termed General Guardianship, where the named guardian has both sets of authorities and responsibilities listed above.
Both types of guardianship come with significant responsibilities, so it is important to choose guardians carefully. An experienced guardianship lawyer can outline the duties involved and guide Cary residents through the petition and appointment processes.
Anyone who wishes to attend to their loved one’s well-being can initiate a guardianship proceeding in North Carolina. First, they must file a petition with the Clerk of Court requesting adjudication of incompetence. The Clerk will then appoint a local attorney to serve as “guardian ad litem.” The guardian ad litem represents the respondent and reports to the Clerk. The goal is to appoint an independent party to provide an unbiased report to the Clerk as to the needs of the potential ward.
After a guardianship lawyer has been retained, there will be a hearing on the petition where both sides will present evidence in front of the Clerk. If the Clerk decides that the respondent is competent, then the proceeding will end with no further action. If the respondent is found incompetent, then the Clerk will appoint a guardian. The Clerk has broad discretion about who to select and does not always assign guardianship to the petitioner.
If guardianship is needed, North Carolina law allows an individual to request the Clerk’s appointment of a particular guardian of the estate. This can be accomplished through a Durable Power of Attorney for finances. However, the Clerk can decide to appoint someone else if they determine it is in the ward’s best interests. A nearby guardianship attorney can guide individuals through filing the necessary requests to make sure their loved ones will be cared for.
Navigating guardianship proceedings can be lengthy and frustrating, especially when the matters are so close to heart. Professional legal counsel can smooth the appointment process and help ensure that your loved one will be financially secure for the rest of their life.
If you are considering appointing a guardian, a devoted Cary guardianship lawyer can provide step-by-step guidance throughout the process. Call today for assistance in protecting your loved one’s future.