Caring for those who need extra attention can be a rewarding experience, but there are legal considerations you must take when you must step into the shoes of children, spouses, elderly parents, or grandparents.
The law prohibits you from managing another person’s personal and financial affairs unless you have proper authorization from the individual or permission from the court. You may be ready and willing to help with health care, banking, and real estate issues, but you need legal status as a guardian to act. The process of obtaining guardianship is complicated, requiring proper documentation and multiple court hearings. Under the circumstances, it’s critical to retain an Angier guardianship attorney to represent you.
Angier family attorney Jonathan Breeden has been assisting families in Angier as they face tough guardianship issues. A critical aspect of his advocacy is explaining the relevant legal concepts of a case, so clients can understand and properly exercise their responsibilities as guardians.
Guardianship is a status you can request from a court, and it enables you to act on behalf of a person who lacks the requisite legal capacity to make decisions. North Carolina’s guardianship laws define a guardian as the person who takes handles financial, medical, and other personal decisions for an incapacitated individual. A ward is an individual who needs someone to help with decision-making due to age or incompetency.
Three types of legal guardians can act for a ward:
Under certain circumstances, it may be appropriate for a business to act as legal guardian because of the ward’s unique needs. If the ward’s best interests require a health care professional to act as personal guardian, a court may approve an assisted living center to take on the role. Where the ward has considerable or complex assets, there may be a need for a financial expert.
If you have questions about the different types of guardianship in North Carolina, call an Angier guardianship attorney right away.
North Carolina imposes strict requirements on the duties of a personal, estate, or general guardian. Under the “prudent person” standard, you must act in accordance with the financial and health care decisions you would make when faced with the same set of circumstances. In the context of a personal guardian, you may need to:
The tasks of an estate guardian are directed toward proper management of the ward’s assets. Therefore, you may be in charge of:
Not only can Breeden Law Office assist with your petition for appointment as guardian and related court proceedings, but as an Angier guardianship attorney, Jonathan Breeden is can advise you in your role and responsibilities as a ward’s guardian. There can be serious consequences for shirking your duties, so it’s wise to have an experienced advocate on your side.
Guardianship may become an issue for you and your family under various circumstances, but two primary scenarios that may require you to act:
You should note that guardianship is considered temporary under North Carolina law. When children reach the age of adulthood, there is no longer a need for a guardian. Likewise, an adult may only experience temporary incapacity. A guardian would no longer be necessary when the ward regains essential faculties.
The actual process of requesting appointment is complicated. Guardianship lawyers can explain more about your role, responsibilities, and other issues if you seek appointment to such a position. However, you may want to know more about your rights when someone else has filed a petition for guardianship over a loved one.
If guardianship is the right move for your family, it’s helpful to gain a better understanding of the court proceedings for appointment. Even when you have an Angier guardianship attorney to represent your interests, an overview should help you know what to expect.
In guardianship of a minor, there is no need to prove that the child is somehow incompetent. By virtue of age alone, children cannot make medical, legal, and financial decisions.
Requesting appointment as guardian of an adult is a different issue. You must first show that the person doesn’t have the capacity for responsible decision-making. Other family members, caretakers, and even the ward may challenge your allegations. In most cases, you must rely on a health care provider or medical specialist familiar with the potential ward’s capabilities to establish incompetency.
Once the court determines that the ward is not capable of managing financial and personal affairs, you still need to show that you should be appointed as guardian. If there are other petitions for appointment as guardian, you may need to prove that you are better suited for the role as compared to other interested parties.
A guardian ad litem is a unique role in the guardianship process, as the ward has certain rights that must remain protected. Since a judge cannot spend hours or days observing the ward’s living arrangement, a guardian ad litem is appointed by the court to take on the responsibility of interviewing the ward and assessing their current environment. The guardian ad litem then reports back to the court and provides recommendations.
Guardianship issues may be easy for a court to address, such as when parents need authority to act for a child or when the ward is diagnosed with a disability. In other cases, the court proceedings may be extensive and require a hearing. Common disputes include:
When court hearings are necessary, the proceedings bear many of the same characteristics of a trial. There will be motions, status conferences, and possibly a full trial. Angier guardianship attorney Jonathan Breeden has the experience and knowledge necessary to represent your interests effectively. Contact him today for help.
Guardianship proceedings can be time-consuming and expensive, but there are ways to sidestep the court process through advance directives. By planning ahead, you can take control over your personal and financial affairs while you still have the capacity to do so. Some tools for advance planning include:
Getting legal advice on powers of attorney is critical. Guardianship lawyers can explain how advance directives work, giving you control over your future if you become incapable of managing your own affairs.
When you become a legal guardian, it can feel like a lot to take on. Luckily, there are many resources at your disposal to help assist you when caring for your loved one, including hospitals, courts, and support groups for caregivers.
Harnett County Adult Services promotes the independence and dignity of older adults, people with disabilities, and their families.
Their services, benefits, and protections are geared to helping them be economically self-supporting, remain in their homes, prevent institutional care, and protect them from neglect, abuse, and exploitation. You can reach an intake social worker at (910) 814-6640. Their general number is (910) 893-7500.
They’re located at:
Harnett County Adult Services
311 W Cornelius Harnett Boulevard
Lillington, NC 27546
The Harnett County Department of Aging coordinates services and programs for older adults. They provide the following:
They can be reached at 910-893-7578. They’re located at:
Department on Aging
309 W Cornelius Harnett Boulevard
Lillington, NC 27546
If there’s a crisis, call 911. However, Harnett County Emergency Services can provide a wide range of medical services for those who have a disability.
Suppose your loved one has a physical disability or special needs that would make it difficult to evacuate them during a disaster. In that case, you can provide information on their HELP Registry to make that process easier. Their office number is 910-893-7580, and they’re located at:
Harnett County Emergency Services
1005 Edwards Brothers Drive
Lillington, NC 27546
The Angier Police Department’s office number is 919-639-2071. If there’s an emergency, you should call 911. Their office is located at:
Angier Police Department
55 N Broad Street West
Angier, NC 27501
The Department on Aging’s Harnett County Family Caregiver Support Program supports adult family members who care for an adult 60 or older or a disabled family member in an in-home setting.
They meet every month on the third Thursday of the month at 11:00. You can contact Latorius Adams at 910-814-6075 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions about the program.
Harnett Health is a private, not-for-profit organization based in Harnett County. Its network includes facilities throughout the area and more than 250 credentialed providers. Its hospitals include Betsy Johnson Hospital in Dunn and Central Harnett Hospital in Lillington.
Both hospitals can be reached at (910) 892-1000. It has a primary care physician practice in Angier. You can call them at (919) 331-2477, and they’re located at:
185 Rawls Road
Angier, NC 27501
The Sandhills Center provides mental health, substance abuse, and intellectual/developmental disabilities treatment and services. It can be reached at 800-256-2452. It’s located at:
1120 Seven Lakes Drive
West End, NC 27376
Petitions for adjudication of incompetence (guardianship) are filed in the Special Proceedings Division of the clerk’s office at Harnett County Superior Court. A petition form is available online. The Special Proceedings Division’s phone number is 910-814-4640. The court is located at:
Harnett County Superior Court
301 West Cornelius Harnett Boulevard
Lillington, NC 27546
Even when you have sincere intentions and want the best for a loved one who needs help with personal and financial matters, there are still legal requirements to take on the role of guardian. When technical statutes and strict procedural rules create hurdles, you need reliable legal counsel to assist you with the process.
Attorney Jonathan Breeden knows the legal challenges of the guardianship process can be daunting. Whether you seek appointment as guardian or want your voice to be heard regarding someone else who filed a petition, he will work hard to help you achieve your objectives.
Call Breeden Law Office today:Call (919) 809-6599