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Guardianship vs. Power of Attorney

While many law terms can sound quite similar to the uneducated, oftentimes, there are things that make them vastly different from one another. Two of those terms that could potentially throw people for a loop are Guardianship and Power of Attorney. Let’s check out the differences below:

With a power of attorney, an individual can name his or her own power of attorney, but the courts have to appoint a guardian. However, both of them are considered to be fiduciary and both have basically the same amount of authority to make financial decisions. If a person wants an elder to have a guardianship, they could hire an attorney, but the elder has the right to an attorney too. If he or she might require a guardian, they have the right to go to court and present evidence to the contrary.

If a guardian does get appointed, he or she has to keep a regular account and present to the court on how any money is being spent, and how much. The courts also have the ability to keep watch over what a guardian (or conservator) does. They can also change the guardian, expand or limit any duties, and make rulings that affect the powers given to guardians. Conversely, a power of attorney isn’t required to make reports to the court, and a durable power of attorney document doesn’t actually need the power of attorney to report on how money is spent. Further, the durable power of attorney is normally permanent.

A guardianship (or conservatorship), by contrast, can be temporary, but oftentimes becomes permanent once the court learns the elder needs a permanent guardian after the temporary one reports to the court. It also costs less to create and appoint a durable power of attorney, even if a lawyer may have drawn up the power of attorney document and spent time going over issues and explaining duties to you, as well as what the document as a whole actually means. Since the court isn’t directly involved, it’s actually a lot simpler to create and appoint a durable power of attorney than a guardianship.

If you or someone you love needs assistance with Elder Care law issues, call 856-281-3131. Let us help ease your stress and give you a plan.

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