Guardianship is a serious legal step that impacts someone’s ability to make decisions for themselves. If you’re considering guardianship for a loved one, this post can help you understand the process and alternatives.

What is Guardianship?

In North Carolina, guardianship is a court-ordered relationship where one person (the guardian) is given the authority to make decisions on behalf of another (the ward) who is deemed incapable of making their own choices. This can involve decisions about personal care, medical treatment, finances, and living arrangements.

Why Pursue Guardianship?

Guardianship is typically sought when an individual lacks the mental capacity to make informed decisions, or the physical capacity to take care of themselves due to reasons like:

  • Mental illness
  • Intellectual or developmental disability
  • Dementia or Alzheimer’s disease
  • Severe injury or illness

Types of Guardianship in NC

There are different types of guardianship, each with varying degrees of authority:

  • General Guardian: Makes all decisions for the ward.
  • Guardian of the Person: Responsible for the ward’s personal care, living situation, and medical needs.
  • Guardian of the Estate: Manages the ward’s finances and property.
  • Limited Guardian: Tailored to address specific areas where the ward needs assistance.
  • Interim Guardian: Appointed on an emergency basis to protect the ward from immediate harm.

Alternatives to Guardianship

It’s important to explore less restrictive options before pursuing guardianship. These might include:

  • Power of Attorney: A legal document where someone appoints another person to make decisions on their behalf.
  • Supported Decision-Making: A plan designating trusted individuals to assist with specific decisions.
  • Family and Community Support Services: Leveraging existing support networks to help the individual manage their affairs.

Considering Guardianship in North Carolina?

The decision to pursue guardianship shouldn’t be taken lightly. Here are some next steps:

  • Consult with an attorney who practices in the area of Estate Planning or Elder Law.
  • Seek advice from healthcare professionals familiar with the ward’s situation.
  • Research and understand the legal process involved.
  • Explore all alternatives to ensure guardianship is truly necessary.

Don’t rush into guardianship, make sure you have the legal guidance you need to make the best decisions for your family’s future.

Get an Experienced Wilmington, NC Estate Planning Attorney Now

If you’re considering guardianship, contact Rountree Losee LLP to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys. Our attorneys are here to help you explore your options and create a plan for your family’s future. 

Resources To Learn More About Guardianship in NC

Rethinking Guardianship Initiative: