Indiana Guardianship Attorneys
Serving Families in Indiana Since 1972
When a loved one becomes incapacitated, it can be a very difficult time for families. However, it is important that the family takes the time to explore all of their options to ensure that the incapacitated individual is provided for in the best way possible. One option that many people consider is guardianship.
At Rice & Rice, we have a team of experienced guardianship lawyers in Valparaiso, IN who can help you determine if guardianship is the right option for your family. We can help you navigate the court process and provide legal assistance during the guardianship period. Our team of attorneys has decades of experience working with families throughout the state of Indiana and we have offices in Valparaiso, South Bend, and Lafayette.
What Is Guardianship?
Guardianship is a legal relationship in which a guardian is authorized to make important decisions for the person being cared for, or ward. The guardian is responsible for the care and well-being of the loved one who is incapacitated and is required to report to the court on a regular basis to ensure that the loved one is receiving the best possible care. The guardian is also responsible for managing financial affairs and property.
If you are considering guardianship, it is important that you understand what it entails. A guardian is responsible for caring for the individual on a daily basis and must ensure that the incapacitated loved one is receiving the care that they need. A guardian is also responsible for managing finances and reporting to the court on a regular basis.
When Is Guardianship the Right Option?
There are a number of situations in which guardianship may be the right option for your family. Mainly, if your loved one is no longer able to make important decisions due to a medical condition, it is likely time to set up guardianship for them.
When Is Guardianship the Wrong Option?
Guardianship is intended to provide legal authorization to a person so that they may make important decisions regarding the care and well-being, as well as finances of your loved one. If they are not incapacitated and are still able to make their own decisions and are of sound mind, then it may not be necessary. Additionally, if your loved one is capable of managing their affairs and does not want guardianship, then it cannot be authorized.
Guardianship is a serious legal relationship that requires a court order, and the court will carefully consider the individual's wishes before granting it. If the individual does not want guardianship, the court may not grant it. However, individuals who do not want guardianship may change their minds once they understand the benefits of guardianship.
Guardianship vs. Power of Attorney
In Indiana, as in many other states, guardianship, and power of attorney are legal mechanisms used to make decisions on behalf of another person, but they serve different purposes and have different implications.
Here are the key differences between guardianship and power of attorney in Indiana:
- Guardianship: Typically sought when a loved one is deemed legally incapacitated and unable to make decisions for themselves.
- Power of Attorney: Allows a competent individual (the principal) to appoint an attorney-in-fact to make specific decisions or manage certain affairs on their behalf. The principal retains decision-making capacity and can revoke the POA at any time.
- Guardianship: Initiated via a petition filed in court by an interested party, such as a family member or a concerned individual, who believes that someone is incapacitated and in need of a guardian. The court determines whether guardianship is necessary.
- Power of Attorney: Initiated by the principal, who creates the document voluntarily while they are of sound mind. The principal chooses their agent and specifies the powers granted in the POA.
- Guardianship: Typically has broad decision-making authority over the ward's personal, medical, and financial affairs. The extent of authority is determined by the court and may be limited based on the ward's specific needs.
- Power of Attorney: The agent's authority under a POA is limited to what is explicitly granted in the document.
- Guardianship: Continues until the court determines that it is no longer necessary, often due to the ward's recovery or improvement in capacity, or in the event of the ward's death.
- Power of Attorney: Can be set to expire on a specific date, upon the occurrence of a certain event, or when the principal revokes it. It can also be durable, meaning it remains in effect even if the principal becomes incapacitated.
- Guardianship: Can only be terminated or modified by a court order. The ward or interested parties may petition the court for changes.
- Power of Attorney: The principal can revoke a POA at any time as long as they are of sound mind. It can also be revoked upon the occurrence of a specified event or date mentioned in the document.
It's important to note that both guardianship and power of attorney are legal processes designed to protect the interests of individuals who may be unable to make decisions for themselves. The choice between the two depends on the specific circumstances and the individual's capacity to make decisions at the time of consideration. Consulting with a skilled Indiana guardianship lawyer at Rice & Rice is advisable to determine the most appropriate course of action.
Ensure that the best interests of your loved one are protected. Speak with a Valparaiso guardianship attorney at Rice & Rice -- serving families in Indiana since 1972.
Focused On Elder Law
At Rice & Rice Attorneys, our primary focus is on caring for your family. Estate Planning, Probate, and Elder Law are all we do, and we offer reasonable rates.
Faith and Family Oriented
Our firm is based on the principles of our faith and the importance of family.
50 Years of Experience
Since 1972, Rice & Rice Attorneys have been serving this area and we are deeply rooted in our community.
Our firm has been awarded the Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent Rating, as well as an A+ Rating with the BBB.