Serving as a guardian of another person comes with both power and responsibility. A guardian can make decisions concerning the legal and property rights of an incapacitated person, known as a ward. They also have a duty under the law to act in their ward’s best interests.
This obligation carries great legal weight. A court has the power to retract a guardianship if it believes that a party has failed to act in good faith. The subject of a guardianship order may also sue their guardian for not properly carrying out their duties. If you are taking on this role, speak with a knowledgeable attorney about the duties of a guardian in Raleigh.
A guardianship is a last resort under the law. A person may need a guardian only if a physical or mental limitation leaves them unable to care for their own wellbeing. Although the court has ultimate say on whether a situation warrants a guardianship, a major part of this process involves the prospective guardian submitting a multidisciplinary evaluation, as per North Carolina General Statute § 35A-1111. When a doctor completes this evaluation, they are providing their opinion as to whether or not a person requires a guardian.
Any person has the ability to petition the court for guardianship powers. The petitioner is responsible for providing evidence of the subject’s incapacity. During a hearing, the subject of the proposed guardianship order has the right to question witnesses and contest the evidence. The court will also appoint an attorney to protect the subject’s wishes during the hearing. It is recommended that anyone seeking guardianship powers also retain a dedicated lawyer in their area to help with the legal proceedings.
North Carolina General Statute § 35A-1241 outlines the powers and duties of a guardian. As an overall directive, a guardian must make arrangements for the ward’s comfort, wellbeing, and maintenance. This may include:
More specifically, the statute says that the guardian must take reasonable steps to protect the ward’s property and make reasonable medical decisions on their behalf. The guardian must also attempt to find a living space within state limits, if at all possible. A guardian who fails to perform these duties may face court censure or a lawsuit from the ward’s estate. As such, any prospective guardians in Raleigh should meet with an experienced lawyer to go over their legal obligations and powers.
Serving as a guardian is a huge responsibility, and one that should not be taken lightly. The court and laws grant guardians the ability to make medical decisions, obtain housing, control assets, and generally take authority over every aspect of another person’s life.
Accordingly, it is crucial to understand the duties of a guardian in Raleigh if you are thinking about taking on this major role. If you wish to care for your loved one, a seasoned attorney at our firm can provide clarification on the legal process and requirements for becoming a guardian. Call our team today to schedule an initial meeting.