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Power of Attorney Vs. Guardianship

In many areas of law, there are ways to prevent problems — and there are ways to deal with the problem after it happens. Elder estate planning, powers of attorney and guardianships are perfect examples.

A well-thought-out and properly executed power of attorney in Indiana could prevent the need for guardianship. When looking at power of attorney vs. guardianship, POA is far easier, faster, and less expensive than a guardianship proceeding.

The underlying issue is an adult who, in the future, may be unable to make decisions concerning his or her health care, financial matters, or daily life. That adult can be anyone, but those facing chronic physical or psychiatric conditions or the elderly may be more likely to find themselves in that situation faster than others. When you are ready to discuss guardianship vs. power of attorney in your situation, contact our POA and guardianship attorney at CLLB Law at 812-725-8224 today.

Why You Should Choose CLLB Law to Discuss Power of Attorney vs. Guardianship

At Church, Langdon, Lopp, and Banet Law, we understand the challenges involved when you are in a situation where decisions regarding guardianship vs. power of attorney are on the table. Typically, people who are discussing this have some sort of health issue looming or are in the midst of a situation that could upend the normal family structure.

This can be a frightening time, as the family faces a lot of uncertainty. A discussion of power of attorney vs. guardianship can also be extremely uncomfortable for family members.

Our team always focuses on giving you the support you need, both emotionally and from a legal standpoint. We know how to help you find ways to discuss challenging subjects, serving as a facilitator.

Because you may be going through a power of attorney vs. guardianship discussion for the first time, we also know how to ask questions that can help you articulate your thoughts clearly. Rather than leaving you floundering and unsure how to proceed, we will guide the discussion, ensuring that we hit all the important points.

Rather than giving you a cookie cutter solution like some other law firms might do, CLLB Law works directly with you to solve the unique problems that you and your family are facing. Our past clients’ testimonials show the high level of work we put into their cases, and you can trust that we will do the same for you.

How We Can Help You With Power of Attorney vs. Guardianship Decisions

Because of our decades of collective experience dealing with elder law, power of attorney vs. guardianship, family law, and dispute resolution topics, our team can help you navigate a difficult situation like this.

We know that each case is different, and you can rest assured that we will focus on the facts that are most important to you. We have extensive knowledge of IC 30-5-4, the Indiana state statute which discusses power of attorney, and you can trust we will explain the statute to you in terminology you can understand.

Attorney Steven P. Langdon leads our team at CLLB Law when it comes to power of attorney vs. guardianship and similar aspects of elder law, such as wills and trusts.

He mixes compassion with significant legal skills, ensuring that you receive the legal help you need, as well as the emotional support required to sort through the complexities of this type of situation. Discussing these topics is difficult, but he will guide you through the process.

Steve actually decided to focus on elder care planning and similar areas of the law after experiencing his own frustrations with the Medicaid system while dealing with a family member’s severe illness.

He knows the pain that families sometimes go through when they come to CLLB Law looking for help with making decisions like power of attorney vs. guardianship. He promises to work as hard as possible to handle the legal ramifications of your situation, so you can focus on your family.

Power of Attorney in Indiana

Clearly, POA vs. guardianship is a challenging concept for people to understand. Clients of our guardianship lawyers often have many questions about this topic. In simple terms, a power of attorney is a legal document created by the principal, an adult who’s mentally competent.

It gives another person, the agent, the ability to make certain decisions or to handle given affairs for the principal. These documents normally cover financial and healthcare issues and can be as narrow or as broad as the principal sees fit.

As long as the principal is mentally competent, a power of attorney can be revoked or changed, and the agent can be removed and replaced.

A financial power of attorney can allow a person to handle a narrow range of financial issues (such as pay bills and the mortgage) or encompass all financial issues (freedom to control all assets and income, make investment decisions, sell real estate, and pay all debts and bills).

  • The power of attorney can be durable (it becomes effective when it’s completed) or springing (it becomes effective only if the principal is no longer competent to make the decisions).
  • The principal must say whether power of attorney is durable or springing. The durable POA is more useful, because the agent’s ability to make decisions may come and go if the principal gains and loses his or her mental capacity.

A health care power of attorney in Indiana allows the principal to name an agent who will make health care decisions for the person if the principal can’t make them on his or her own.

A health care provider must take direction from a mentally competent patient, so these powers of attorney apply only when the patient is no longer capable of making medical decisions.

Our Guardianship Lawyer Is Ready to Help With Your POA vs. Guardianship Decisions

Given the important roles the agent plays, it’s critical for the principal to name an agent who’s ready, willing, and able to do the job. The agent could be trusted with life-or-death health care decisions or decisions that could potentially financially ruin the principal, so it’s important that the person must be trustworthy and capable of making such decisions.

Suppose there are appropriate powers of attorney in place in case the principal becomes incompetent to make important decisions due to an illness, physical or psychiatric condition, accident, or advanced age. In that case, others are in place to make decisions for the person. Bills are paid, assets are managed, and medical decisions are made.

At CLLB Law, we understand the importance of making these decisions. That’s why our team is willing to spend as much time as required in the POA vs. guardianship discussion to help you figure out the best way for you to move forward.

Count on our guardianship attorney to provide advice, while always listening to your concerns and needs. To discuss your case, contact us today at 812-725-8224.

Indiana Guardianship vs. Power of Attorney Proceedings

What happens if the person becomes incompetent to make decisions but there are no powers of attorney in place?

For health care issues, it’s the next of kin who will be asked to make health care decisions. If the person is married, that’s the spouse, assuming he or she is capable of making such decisions.

If that’s not the case, adult children, if any, are next in line. That can be a problem if there is more than one child, and if they disagree on how the treatment should go.

For financial matters, unless someone else is listed on an account, it may be practically impossible for a family member to gain access to bank or financial accounts to obtain money to pay bills.

A failure to pay rent could result in eviction; failure to pay the mortgage could result in foreclosure; and medical insurance may be lost if premiums aren’t paid.

When Guardianship Is the Next Step in Power of Attorney vs. Guardianship in Indiana

In the situations we explained earlier, a guardianship proceeding would be the next step. Through this legal procedure, a person is appointed by a court to make decisions for someone who no longer can make decisions for himself or herself (a “protected person”). There are generally two types of guardians:

  • A “guardian of the person” makes decisions concerning the person’s personal needs, including medical care.
  • A “guardian of the estate” handles their business or financial affairs.

If the protected person is disabled enough, one person or two people may be both types of guardians.

A person will be declared incompetent and in need of a guardian if he lacks sufficient capacity to manage his own affairs or to make or communicate important decisions about his health, property, or family. Most courts require that you at least obtain a letter from a doctor, explaining why the doctor feels that the person is incompetent.

If the incompetent person does not have a lawyer, the court will likely appoint a lawyer to represent the incompetent person at the hearing. This temporary representative is a “guardian ad litem.”

The incompetent person also has a right to have a personal lawyer present at the hearing. (In Kentucky, a hearing before a judge and jury is required to determine the individual’s need for a guardian.)

Our Guardianship Attorney Can Help You Understand Indiana Power of Attorney vs. Guardianship

Whether you’re in Indiana or Kentucky and planning for your own future or the future of a loved one, Church, Langdon, Lopp, Banet Law can answer your questions about power of attorney vs. guardianship proceedings and represent you or your family in these critical matters.

Contact our guardianship lawyer today to start finding solutions. Complete our online form or call us at 812-725-8224.

Attorney Gary Banet

Gary is licensed to practice law in both Indiana and Kentucky. He concentrates his practice in estate planning, estate and trust administration, estate and trust litigation, guardianships, elder law and special-needs planning. Gary earned his J.D. from the University of Louisville, Louis D. Brandeis School of Law, and formerly practiced law at Bingham Greenebaum Doll and Wyatt, Tarrant & Combs. [ Attorney Bio ]

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