A guardianship is a legal proceeding where it is determined that an individual is no longer able to make financial and/or medical decisions.  Guardianships may be a necessary step when one is unable to make sound decisions for himself or herself.  To become a guardian, a hearing must be held where the court determines if the person is incapacitated and then determines if the person requesting the guardianship is the best fit to serve.  In our opinion, it is always desirable to look for less restrictive options than a guardianship to preserve someone’s legal rights.

What is the difference between a guardianship and a Power of Attorney or other advance directives??  A Financial Power of Attorney or Advance Healthcare Directive can be used as an alternative to guardianship.  One must have mental capacity to sign the document so it is best to execute these well in advance of a health decline.  Having these documents well in advance of an incapacity or disability will allow you a say in who takes care of your affairs and prevent the often unnecessary and costly expense of a guardianship.