Both a power of attorney and guardianship serve an essential purpose in ensuring the needs of an individual are met when they are incapable of acting on their behalf. While some duties are similar, it’s important to understand the significant differences between the two if you’re getting ready to start estate planning. Whatever you choose, it’s also wise to enlist an attorney to help draft the appropriate paperwork.
Power of Attorney vs. Guardianship
A power of attorney is a legal document that gives a specific person the ability to make decisions on your behalf under certain circumstances. It goes into effect if you are rendered incapacitated, in which case, the individual you choose will take over various responsibilities such as paying bills, opening and closing bank accounts, and buying or selling property. The document will detail what they have control over and specify if there are any limitations to their duties. If you wish, a separate power of attorney may be appointed to make health care decisions for you.
In contrast, guardianship is appointed by the court when someone requests to act on behalf of an individual who has become unable to make their own decisions. If you become incapacitated without naming a power of attorney, a judge may grant someone guardianship to make personal and financial decisions for you. The court will usually have to approve these choices, and a status report is periodically required.
If you need help with your estate planning, turn to The Law Offices of Bromm, Lindahl, Freeman-Caddy & Lausterer in Wahoo, NE. They will provide quality legal guidance and counsel to ensure you create a document that reflects your wishes and protects your best interests. Call (402) 443-3225 today to schedule a consultation, or visit their website to learn more about their experience in this practice area.