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What’s the Difference Between Power of Attorney and Guardianship

By Jonathan Wells, 9:00 am on

Whether it’s for the purpose of making medical or financial decisions or becoming the primary decision-maker, there are times when you may need to consider a power of attorney or guardianship for your senior loved one. Determining which document is appropriate starts with having a clear understanding of the purpose of each option.

Power of Attorney

Prepared with the assistance of a lawyer but not requiring court involvement, a power of attorney is drafted with the willing consent of your senior loved one. He or she will choose what decisions you’ll be able to make for them. According to Douglas County senior care professionals, a power of attorney can be limited to financial matters or healthcare decisions only.

Guardianship

With guardianship, you will either be named a guardian or conservator. You will then be responsible for all financial, healthcare, and overall care decisions related to your senior loved one. Requiring court approval, guardianship can also be relegated to personal care decisions or estate matters, depending on the level of incapacity.

Choosing the Right Option

If your loved one gets a little confused with money issues but is otherwise capable, a power of attorney is typically recommended. Should your senior loved one reach a point where he or she is no longer mentally capable of making decisions best for their own wellbeing, which may be due to conditions like dementia or Alzheimer’s, guardianship may be more appropriate.

Guardianship is a much more involved and time-consuming process that will require regular monitoring by the court, while a power of attorney requires your loved one to have sufficient mental capacity to understand what he or she is agreeing to and signing. Many states require that the least restrictive option, which would be the power of attorney, be applied before resorting to guardianship so the person being protected may retain as much individual freedom as possible.

Learn more about planning for your loved one’s later years by reaching out to Home Care Assistance at 720-287-1685. We are a trusted provider of senior care, including dementia and Alzheimer’s care in Douglas County. Our trusted Care Managers can discuss long-term care solutions for your loved one, should he or she ever need help maintaining a high-quality of life in the comfort of home. Reach out today.