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What Is the Difference Between Power of Attorney and Guardianship?

Although they’re sometimes perceived as being one and the same, power of attorney and guardianship are actually quite different. These are two legal tools that will allow an individual to act on your behalf should you ever lose the ability to make decisions or take action for yourself. While both ultimately determine who will be in charge of making these decisions, a power of attorney is created by a senior whereas guardianship is usually established by the court. Here, the primary differences are explained by Boca Raton senior home care professionals.

Power of Attorney for Estate Planning

A power of attorney is solely limited to decisions pertaining to a person’s financial assets. Moreover, it is possible for seniors to limit the scope of a Power of Attorney to specific transactions so that general control over personal finances is retained. A power of attorney does not grant a person the right to make major medical decisions and it is not sufficient on its own to cover the full spectrum of an incapacitated person’s needs.

Establishing Power of Attorney

In order to establish power of attorney, seniors must have sufficient cognitive function and legal capacity for participating in the actual creation of the document. This is why aging adults are encouraged to proactively engage in long-term planning while they still have the cognitive ability to do so. Supporting family members can usually act quickly and easily under power of attorney, which may not be the case with court-established guardianship.

Guardians as Substitute Decision-Makers

Guardians are often referred to as conservators. There are two basic aspects of guardianship and these include conservatorship of personal finances and conservatorship of personal health. In addition to making important financial decisions on behalf of their incapacitated loved ones, court-appointed guardians have the right to make key medical decisions pertaining to treatment and long-term care.

Establishing Guardianship

Establishing guardianship can be challenging due to the lost sense of autonomy and dignity that these decisions might entail. Before court-appointed guardianship is awarded, it is usually necessary to definitively prove that a senior is in no way capable of acting in his or her own best interest. Moreover, the court continues to carefully monitor guardians and their actions in order to ensure that they are always operating in the best interests of seniors.

Learn more about planning for the golden years by reaching out to Home Care Assistance. We are a trusted senior care provider in Boca Raton offering customized care services and flexible schedules. Learn more about our comprehensive care, including Alzheimer’s and dementia care in Boca Raton, by calling (561) 826.9282 today and speaking with a friendly Care Manager.