06.27.20

The Difference Between A Power Of Attorney And Guardianship


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You may arrive at a point in life where you need to educate yourself on the legal options available to you as you care for aging parents.

If a person loses the capacity to make big decisions for themselves, powers of attorney and guardianships provide different options for making important choices. Understanding the differences between them will ensure a senior and their assets are cared for as they age or are unable to make sound decisions for themselves.

What is a Power of Attorney?

A power of attorney (POA) is a legal document that allows a person to appoint someone to act on their behalf in financial or health care matters. A durable POA will allow that person to act on another’s behalf when that person becomes incapacitated. There are different types of powers of attorney. A POA can be assigned just for medical issues, and another just for financial decision-making, or, one person can oversee both.

What is Guardianship?

A guardianship is an appointment by a court to act as a substitute decision-maker should an adult become incapable of making responsible decisions. Guardianship is a relationship between the guardian and the person (ward) who, because of incapacity, is no longer able to take care of his or her own affairs.

Power of Attorney vs Guardianship

A power of attorney is widely used and provides more flexibility overall. Guardianships require involvement from the court and are much more restrictive. Guardianship is a more serious legal arrangement that takes away a person's freedom. If a power of attorney is proven to be ineffective, only then should a guardianship be explored.

Learn more about the differences in these Elder Care options here.

Contact Us

Kevin Miller is ready to advise you on powers of attorney, guardianships, and any other elder law questions that you may have, so you are able to care for your loved ones and are not caught off guard in an uncertain time. It is important that you plan ahead and make the legal arrangements necessary to protect yourself, should a loved one pass away and your involvement in the person's life is put into question by another family member. Kevin Miller has extensive experience in elder law and estate planning and will put your interests first. Contact us or call us at 405-443-5100 if you have questions. We are here to help.