Your mom has Alzheimer’s disease. You have tried time and again to move her into one of Dayton’s excellent nursing homes, like Bethany Village Graceworks Lutheran Services or A Place For Mom, but she refuses assistance, wanting to remain in her own home. In the meantime, she has fallen in her home, lost a significant amount of money to scammers, and can now only eat pre-packaged foods after an accident in the kitchen when she left the stove on and started a small fire.
This scenario is unfortunately all too familiar for many Dayton residents. If any element of this scenario is familiar to you, a guardianship may be your best (and only) option. A guardian could legally handle all of your relative’s financial affairs (in the case of a guardianship of the estate) or all of your relative’s non-financial affairs (in the case of a guardianship of the person). A general guardian can handle all of these affairs.
Many people get confused between a guardianship and a power of attorney, and understandably so. These two things are very similar. The main difference is that a guardianship is often appointed in cases where a person is declared to be incompetent (oftentimes the court appoints a guardian). In other words, he or she lacks sufficient capacity to manage his or her own affairs or to make or communicate important decisions. For minors who are simply too young to know how to handle many situations, a guardianship is the typical solution. In the case of an adult who has lost mental capacity, a guardianship could be the best solution.
A power of attorney, on the other hand, is great for adults who are still mentally competent but need someone to handle their financial and/or health care affairs. The person assigning a power of attorney must understand what he or she is signing, therefore if the person has already lost mental capacity, the signing over must be done at a point in time when he or she has temporarily regained capacity. Powers of attorney are granted more independence and trust when it comes to the affairs of the person who is in their care. A power of attorney can make most decisions outside of the court, and their decisions are kept private. Decisions made under a guardianship, on the other hand, are heavily supervised by the court. In addition, guardians are required to file an annual report of each expense (any transactions) and all incoming money. All receipts must be compiled and presented to the court. This makes all of that person’s financial affairs public.
If you think that it may be time to appoint a guardian for an aging relative or a minor, our guardianship attorneys can help you. We have handled many of these cases throughout Dayton and the surrounding areas. We can also help you to establish a power of attorney for you or a loved one. Contact us today.