Guardianship becomes necessary to ensure that loved ones are cared for when they are unable to care for themselves. The legal process of securing a guardianship can, unfortunately, be complicated – as can fulfilling your duties to act as a guardian. You need to understand North Carolina laws on when and how to have someone declared incapacitated and on the role that a guardian must play.
The Law Offices of Cheryl David provides assistance to those seeking guardianship. Our legal team understands the rules and helps you to go through the appropriate court process. We can also offer assistance in planning ahead so guardianship do not become necessary, even in the event of incapacity. Give us a call today to find out more about how we can assist you with all matters related to guardianship and to get answers to questions including:
- When is guardianship necessary?
- What is involved in guardianship proceedings in North Carolina?
- How can a Greensboro, NC guardianship and conservatorship lawyer help?
- When is Guardianship Necessary?
Guardianship becomes necessary so decisions can be made and care can be offered to an individual who isn’t able to act on his own anymore. When physical or mental illness renders a person unable to make choices and communicate or act upon those choices, the individual must be named a ward. Guardianship proceedings in court are necessary so the court can determine if the individual truly is incapacitated and should have a guardian appointed. If the court determines the individual is incapacitated, this is when a guardian or conservator must be appointed to manage his affairs.
Guardianship, however, are not necessary in every situation where an individual is incapacitated. If advanced planning has taken place, the complex and difficult legal process of having incapacity determined and a guardian appointed will not be necessary. The incapacitated patient may have created a power of attorney and named an agent, who can simply take over acting on his behalf if incapacity happens.
What is Involved With Guardianship Proceedings in North Carolina?
If there is no power of attorney, guardianship proceedings need to be initiated in court when incapacity is suspected. The person who initiates the proceedings and who seeks to have someone declared a ward will need to convince the court of incapacity.
Even if the court agrees that incapacity is an issue and a guardian is needed, the court is not necessarily going to give guardianship to the individual who initiated the guardianship proceedings. The court is going to carefully consider what is in the best interests of the incapacitated person and who would best serve as that person’s guardian.
The court could end up appointing someone different than the family member or friend who initially raised concerns and initiated the court process. This person may be someone that neither the incapacitated individual nor his loved ones would have selected. The uncertainty over who will be named as a guardian is one key reason why it is important to take control and create an incapacity plan before it is needed.
Whomever is appointed as a guardian or conservator will have the legal burden of acting in the best interests of the incapacitated individual. A fiduciary duty is owed by the guardian to the ward, which is the highest duty one individual can owe to another under the law. The court will regularly oversee how the guardian is managing the ward’s affairs to ensure the duty is being fulfilled. This continued court involvement is uncomfortable for many families and is one example of why incapacity planning is necessary so guardianship could have been avoided.
How can a Greensboro, NC Guardianship Lawyer Help?
When your family member or loved one becomes incapacitated due to illness or injury, the last thing you need to worry about is learning complicated laws related to guardianship proceedings. You need to get help understanding the process, going to court, and securing guardianship so your loved one can be properly cared for.
The Law Offices of Cheryl David helps clients in Greensboro NC, Guilford County, and surrounding regions of North Carolina with all steps involved in guardianship proceedings. We also provide assistance and advice as you fulfill your role as a guardian. To learn more about the specific services we can offer and the ways in which we can help your family with incapacity planning and with responding to incapacity, give us a call at (336) 547-9999 or contact us online.