Guardianship is a process by which a court makes a determination about a person’s (who is called ‘the ward’) competence (termed ‘capacity’) and, if necessary, appoints another person (called ‘the guardian’) to have legal authority to make decisions for the ward. In North Carolina, the guardianship may be of the estate (money), of the person (healthcare and lifestyle decisions) or general (combining both the person and the estate). The authority may have limitations imposed by the court. So, for example, the guardian may be able to order the ward to see a doctor but not to go to church. Once the guardianship is established, the guardian operates under court supervision and subject to court intervention. You can prevent a family member from having to petition for guardianship over you should you become incapacitated in the future through proper estate planning.
If you are concerned about the future security and lifestyle of your loved one, you want to make sure a trusted person is managing their assets and making appropriate health care and living decisions for them. At Sorrell Law Firm we assist clients with all aspects of guardianship, from explaining the pros and cons in a particular situation, looking for alternatives, obtaining guardianship over a loved one, and representing family members in contested guardianship proceedings. Once established, the guardianship procedures required by the Court can still be confusing, and full of traps for the unwary. Because of this, we also advise guardians on issues they face, handle accountings, modifications, and appeals.
We understand that guardianship involves more than the law. It is about people. And in what is at best a difficult (and more than a little unpleasant) process, through our personal attention and consideration of personal and family dynamics we seek to improve the lives of our clients.