Depending on the situation, a guardian might have control of a person’s medical, financial, and personal care decisions, or a combination of the three. It’s best to contact a Hendersonville guardianship lawyer to guide you through the process and help you determine the right legal framework for your relationship. Until you have the chance to meet with a Hendersonville guardianship attorney, the preliminary information offers an introduction to guardianship and how it might apply to your case.
What Is Guardianship in North Carolina?
Guardianship refers to a legal relationship between two entities, one of which is appointed by the court to make personal, medical, and/or financial decisions for the other. The appointed entity, legally referred to as the guardian is often an individual. Guardians manage the affairs of a person, legally referred to as a ward, who doesn’t have the capacity to make their own decisions surrounding issues like medical care, property, and personal finances.
Depending on the situation, a court might appoint a person, a business, or a public agent as a guardian. Also, one ward might have more than one guardian if it is in their best interest. For example, the court might appoint a doctor to make medical decisions and a financial advisor to handle assets and investments for a ward.
Types of Guardianship in Hendersonville
Three types of legal guardianship exist in North Carolina. Here is a broad overview of each.
Guardianship of the Person
This type of guardianship concerns managing the care and custody of a person. A guardian of a person makes decisions about medical treatment, housing, and other applicable issues like employment and education. The exact duties a guardian has depends on the needs of the ward and the circumstances of the case. Examples of specific things a personal guardian might do include:
- Make medical appointments
- Filling prescriptions and giving medication to the ward
- Approving medical treatment
- Placing a person in a nursing home or assisted living facility
- Arranging in-home healthcare
- Managing school requirements and educational decisions, specifically for minors
Guardians of the person are never involved with managing a ward’s finances.
Guardianship of the Estate
This type of guardianship concerns managing a person’s business and financial matters. A guardian of the estate has the power to pay debts, collect money, and take any other reasonable action to manage someone’s estate. Examples of specific things a guardian of the estate might do for a ward include:
- Monitor bank accounts, investments, real estate, personal property, and other assets
- Make decisions about investments so they provide income for the personal care of the ward
- File and handle paperwork related to public benefits, such as Social Security Disability Insurance
If a ward passes away, a guardian of the estate typically also deals with life insurance proceeds and inheritance.
General guardians refer to those who have court-appointed guardianship of the person and their estate. A general guardian might make financial decisions for someone and make medical decisions for them. When a court appoints a general guardian, they typically specify powers and limit them when applicable.
In North Carolina and throughout the United States, minors under the age of 18 cannot make legal decisions in most situations. Sometimes minors need a guardian to handle certain affairs until they reach the age of 18. However, specific conditions surround minor guardianship cases in North Carolina.
First, courts only appoint a general guardian for a child if the biological parents are out of the picture. This might mean they died or the court terminated parental rights. Second, minor guardianship can be temporary and may not need to continue once a child turns 18. If you are seeking guardianship of a child in your life, an experienced Hendersonville guardianship lawyer can help you with the application process.
Two Guardianship Scenarios in North Carolina
Various situations can provide grounds for guardianship in North Carolina, but two occur frequently:
One example is of adult children caring for elderly parents. People who do not go through the estate planning process do not designate someone as their power of attorney. As they age and become incapacitated, an adult child might need to seek guardianship to make decisions about medical treatment and decisions about where their parents should live.
Another example is of parents caring for adult children. Those who have special needs children typically seek guardianship to continue making decisions for their children once they turn age 18.
Contact the Experienced Hendersonville Guardianship Lawyers at King Law Today
Taking on the legal guardianship of another person, whether physical or financial, comes with challenges. You need to focus on helping your loved one and let an experienced Hendersonville guardianship lawyer advise you on the right steps for your situation and handle the paperwork. King Law can help you seek guardianship, advise you if you are in the middle of a guardianship dispute, and review existing guardianship agreements.
King Law has been helping families in the Carolinas for over two decades with divorces, estate planning, and various other family law cases, including guardianship. If you are seeking guardianship of a child, parent, grandparent, or another vulnerable adult in your life, a skilled guardianship lawyer can help the process go more smoothly. Contact King Law today at (888) 748-5464 or (888) 748-KING to discuss your case or fill out our contact form.