Sometimes we take for granted our ability to make some of the most basic decisions about our lives, like where we live and how we spend our money. Some people, however, aren’t able to make these decisions on their own. If you’re concerned that a friend or loved one can’t make some decisions on their own, and they’re unable to fully care for themselves, you want to figure out how you can help them. One option you may consider is guardianship.
What Is a Guardianship?
In North Carolina, guardianship law is a mechanism by which the needs of a person with diminished capacity can be taken care of by someone else. A North Carolina court has to grant guardianship of the person in need to a trusted person, who is called the “guardian.” Guardianship may be granted so that someone else can make decisions on behalf of the person in need, called a ward. Those decisions may have to do with the ward’s affairs or their estate.
The courts don’t place someone under guardianship without clear evidence of a serious deficit in their ability to make sound decisions regarding their personal affairs and estate. For someone to be granted a guardian and deemed a ward under North Carolina law, the court has to be shown proof that the ward has a serious psychological disorder, mental or developmental disability, or several other medical conditions that impair their cognitive ability.
What Rights Can Be Limited Under a Guardianship?
The guardianship laws and the courts take great pains to grant a guardian only powers that are necessary to help the ward handle their affairs. The goal of guardianship isn’t for the guardian to make all the decisions for a ward unnecessarily. Guardianship law states that the ward should be able to make any decisions for which they are capable of exercising the necessary consideration and that they should be allowed to provide input on any decisions that the guardian intends to make about their affairs.
Under guardianship, a guardian could be appointed to make decisions about the ward’s estate, their personal affairs, or both.
If a guardian is granted the power to make decisions about a ward’s personal affairs or their estate, the ward’s rights to make the following decisions or take these actions may be limited:
- Choose where they reside
- Choose which doctors they may visit and any medical treatment they may need
- Driving privileges
- Make a major purchase
- Selling property
- Consider or agree to a contract
- Manage their money
A guardian may have to seek the court’s permission before making decisions regarding certain areas of the ward’s life. For instance, it’s common for guardians to have to seek the court’s approval before making a large purchase or selling a property belonging to the ward. While a ward’s rights may be limited or lost under guardianship, the law still has protections in place for the wellbeing of the ward and to try to ensure that the ward isn’t mistreated or taken advantage of.
Contact Mullen Holland & Cooper P.A. Today
Are you concerned about a loved one’s ability to make their decisions about their lives and how their inability to make these decisions is affecting their wellbeing?
You may need to consider seeking guardianship for your loved one. The guardianship process can be complicated, and you would benefit from hiring an attorney with experience and knowledge about North Carolina’s guardianship laws. The guardianship lawyers at Mullen Holland & Cooper P.A. can help you prepare to petition the court to grant guardianship of your loved one. We’ll help represent your interests during the required court hearings and will guide you through the process.
Call Mullen Holland & Cooper P.A. at 704-864-6751 or contact us online to discuss your concerns.