We dedicate considerable time and effort into caring for our children, spouses, parents, grandparents, and others who need help. As a caretaker, you may do it out of love, moral obligation, and a sense of duty. However, no amount of dedication can overcome the legal aspects of managing a loved one’s personal and financial matters.
Though you may be willing to take on these responsibilities, you need official permission to act. In some situations, being able to provide the care you intend requires a certain type of legal status called guardianship. As a guardian, you may be appointed by a judge to handle the medical care, housing, and finances of a person who cannot make responsible decisions on their own. However, you’ll need a skilled Raleigh guardianship attorney to help you through the process.
Raleigh family lawyer Jonathan Breeden has extensive experience representing clients who need help understanding their situation. He has helped many families in Raleigh and the surrounding areas with guardianship issues. If you feel that becoming a legal guardian is a wise decision for you, contact Breeden Law Office at (919) 480-8005 or go online to schedule a consultation.
Legal guardianship describes a situation where a person obtains court approval to act on behalf of another individual in certain types of decision making. Under North Carolina’s guardianship laws (which are outlined in North Carolina General Statute § 35A), a ward is an individual who has some condition that incapacitates them. A guardian is the person who makes decisions regarding financial and personal matters of the ward.
There are three forms of legal guardianship in North Carolina, including:
Note that North Carolina law allows business entities to act as guardian under certain circumstances. When the interests of the ward are best served by having a medical professional act as personal guardian, a court may approve the arrangement. Likewise, wards with extensive investments and assets may require the services of a financial adviser.
If you’re considering petitioning the court for guardianship of a loved one and don’t know which route to pursue, contact a Raleigh guardianship attorney for help.
Once the court appoints a personal, estate, or general guardian, North Carolina mandates strict requirements on that person’s duties. If you’re appointed as guardian, you must make decisions that align with what you would do when managing your own financial or personal affairs.
Some examples may help you understand how to approach your role as personal guardian. You may be in charge of:
As estate guardian, you must:
As a general guardian, you would be responsible for undertaking all tasks required by both the personal and estate guardian.
There are different situations in which guardianship may come up for you and/or a loved one. When an adult becomes incompetent due to a medical condition and cannot make their own decisions, it’s important to have someone to act on their behalf. Children under the age of 18 are legally unable to act because they have not attained adulthood, so appointing a guardian may be necessary in certain situations. If you are the legal guardian of a child, you may need to extend the legal status into adult guardianship when the ward reaches age 18.
There are two special considerations in guardianship scenarios that you should note:
The laws regarding guardianship are complicated, especially considering the separate, yet sometimes overlapping roles of personal and estate guardians. Family members and other loved ones may feel conflicted when trying to ensure the ward has the best possible care, while also trying to protect their assets.
If you’re looking to retain the counsel of a lawyer who understands these complex situations, contact Jonathan Breeden today. He can explain your rights and responsibilities, whether you’re seeking guardianship or want to know more about how someone else would handle the job.
If you’ve decided that you want to take on the role of guardian, you’ll need to know more about the process. While you should trust a Raleigh guardianship attorney to represent you in connection with the proceedings, it’s helpful to know what to expect as you move through the process.
In cases involving minors, there’s no need to prove incapacity. Being under 18 makes an un-emancipated child unable to make certain healthcare, legal, and financial decisions. The situation is more complicated when you want a court to appoint you as guardian of an adult. You may face challenges from many fronts, including other family members and the potential ward.
To prove incompetency, you must present evidence and testimony showing that the person is unable to take care of financial matters and medical needs on their own. This may require proof regarding a mental condition or injury.
Even after proving that the ward is not capable of handling personal and financial affairs, you must still show that you should be appointed as guardian. According to North Carolina law, any interested person can file a petition for guardianship. Family members, healthcare professionals, and social services agencies may have the standing to request such a position.
The potential ward has the right to a lawyer and a guardian ad litem. The guardian ad litem is the court’s eyes and ears concerning the minor or allegedly disabled adult. This court-appointed official interviews and observes the ward, and reporting the findings to the judge.
Guardianship matters may proceed smoothly, such as in cases where parents must gain guardianship over a disabled child upon reaching adulthood, or where an adult has been diagnosed with incurable dementia. However, many aspects of a guardianship case require a hearing, such as:
The guardianship process bears many of the same characteristics of official court proceedings, requiring appearances, hearings, motions, and potentially a trial. Raleigh guardianship attorney Jonathan Breeden has experience with these proceedings, and he is ready to help you.
Guardianship can be complex, which also means legal proceedings may be time-consuming and expensive. There are ways you can plan ahead so that your family members and loved ones aren’t faced with a difficult, costly process. For instance, you may consider directives such as:
As with any document that is legally binding, you should consult with a Raleigh guardianship attorney before executing a power of attorney for financial or personal matters. Guardianship lawyers can advise you on your options, help you understand how powers of attorney work, and draft the necessary documents to give legal effect to your wishes.
You don’t want to let complicated laws and procedural court rules stand in the way of taking care of your loved ones. The guardianship process is necessary in most cases if you want to take on responsibilities over personal and financial matters for a minor or adult.
Attorney Jonathan Breeden is a guardianship lawyer who understands the challenges you face. With years of experience under his belt, he has assisted many clients in Raleigh with guardianship matters. Because these issues are so personal in nature, he is dedicated to staying in touch and walking you through every step of the process. As a skilled Raleigh guardianship attorney, he knows the court processes and will put you in the best position to obtain a favorable outcome.
Call Breeden Law Office today:(919) 296-3978