Assisting with Guardianship Matters in Franklin, NC
When an individual becomes incapable of managing their financial and/or medical affairs, pursuing a guardianship may be necessary. In the absence of appropriate estate planning documents, such as durable or healthcare powers of attorney, the only legal means to make decisions on behalf of someone else is by seeking a guardianship appointment through the probate court.
Assistance with Guardianship Matters from a Local Franklin, NC Attorney
Attorney Russell Bowling, who focuses on elder law and estate planning, is dedicated to helping clients address guardianship-related issues. Whether it involves understanding the available types of guardianships or obtaining a guardianship, Russell Bowling is committed to providing the necessary support for your loved ones.
Qualifications for Becoming a Guardian
In North Carolina, the probate court evaluates whether an individual, known as a ward, suffers from a condition that renders them incapacitated and unable to handle their own affairs. If the court determines that the ward lacks decision-making capacity, it has the authority to appoint an adult, corporation, or public agent as a guardian. The appointed guardian must act in the best interest of the ward. If needed, the court can appoint multiple guardians for a ward.
Types of Guardianships
North Carolina recognizes three types of guardianships:
- Guardianship of the person: This guardianship focuses on the physical and mental care of the ward, encompassing decisions regarding medical treatment, housing, education, employment, and other matters related to the ward's well-being.
- Guardianship of the estate: This type of guardianship manages the ward's financial and business affairs. Responsibilities may include the payment of liabilities, fund collection, and asset or investment management.
- General guardianship: A general guardianship combines the powers of both guardianship of the person and guardianship of the estate, granting the guardian authority over financial and personal matters.
Depending on the specific needs and abilities of the ward, the court may impose limitations on the granted powers of the guardian.
The Guardianship Process
The process of appointing a guardian generally involves the following steps:
- Filing a petition with the probate court in the county where the ward resides. The petition includes relevant information about the ward, the current situation, and a basic inventory of involved property.
- Guardians must take an oath to fulfill their duties in accordance with North Carolina law, expressing their commitment to act in the ward's best interest.
- Guardians must post a bond, with the amount determined by the clerk of court based on the nature and complexity of the case. In some instances, the required bond amount may be reduced.
- The clerk of court will issue an order or grant the guardianship, providing the guardian with legal documents, including Letters of Guardianship. These letters serve as proof of the guardianship and the guardian's authority to act on behalf of the ward.
If the guardianship faces challenges, additional procedures and hearings may be necessary. Once the guardianship is established, the guardian must maintain records of decisions made on behalf of the ward and submit an accounting to the court, which may include financial statements, medical records, and other relevant documents.
Seeking a guardianship for a loved one can be a complex and time-consuming process, particularly when providing care simultaneously. Attempting to navigate the guardianship process without assistance can lead to challenges, such as inadequate documentation or disputes among family members. Engaging the services of an experienced attorney can ensure the proper preparation of court documents and overcome any obstacles, allowing you to focus on caring for your loved one.
Whether you require guidance, emergency guardianship assistance, a review of an existing guardianship, or help with guardianship accounting, Russell Bowling is an experienced attorney dedicated to supporting families throughout and beyond the guardianship process. To arrange a confidential consultation with a reputable elder law attorney in Franklin, NC, contact attorney Russell Bowling at (828) 524-5070.
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