Guardianships can be an important tool for making sure that decisions can be made and your spouse is not impoverished by your lack of planning.

Many Americans have no legal documents at all. Many have documents, but not the right documents. Sometimes they have the right documents, but they are inadequate for their needs. When a person is unable to manage their affairs and they have no legal documents in place, or inadequate documents, then a guardianship is required. If so, you are relegated to petition the court to obtain the authority to act.

The Three Types of Guardianships

There are basically three types of guardianships in North Carolina. They are Guardian of the Person, Guardian of the Estate, and General Guardian.

  • A Guardian of the Person is able to make health care decisions and living arrangements for a loved one.
  • A Guardian of the Estate is able to manage one’s income and assets. This guardianship requires annual accountings to the court.
  • A General Guardian is both a Guardian of the Person and a Guardian of the Estate. This allows the appointed guardian to manage health care decisions living arrangements, and financial decisions for the ward.

Seniors should always have their estate planning documents specifically reviewed by an elder law attorney. This is due to the fact that most seniors have inadequate documents for the issues seniors may face. When their documents are not updated, it often results in a guardianship, or the need to go to court. You are far better off having the correct estate planning documents that allow you to avoid the time and expense of going to court.

We are able to petition the court to get you the authority you need to make medical and/or financial decisions for a loved one. We frequently seek permission and obtain orders allowing gifts from one spouse to the other, generally for asset protection or government assistance purposes.

If you need assistance with reviewing your current estate planning documents, or need to have documents prepared, you should seek the advice of an experienced, knowledgeable elder law attorney. Contact W.G. Alexander and Associates today to see what we can do to help you.