Adult guardianship in North Carolina is the process of having a court declare the person, referred to as the "ward," incompetent, and the court allows someone else, known as the "guardian," to step in and manage their affairs. Sometimes adult guardianship may be needed when someone has a debilitating mental illness that causes them not to be able to manage their own financial or healthcare affairs. 

Not being able to manage their own financial or healthcare affairs doesn't mean that they make choices we may not agree with–they must lack sufficient capacity to manage their own affairs or to make or communicate important decisions about themselves, their family, or their property. North Carolina courts require clear, cogent, and convincing evidence to show that they lack the capacity. Guardianship should be considered only when less intrusive alternatives are not appropriate and if it will give an individual a fuller capacity for exercising their rights.

Is guardianship really needed?

If you are trying to determine if guardianship is needed for a loved one, meeting with an attorney experienced in guardianship proceedings is a wise first step. Together, you and the attorney can navigate whether a guardianship proceeding would be appropriate or not. You'll want to document any instances displaying the possible guardianship need. The more documented, the better the attorney can assess the situation. 

Two people's hands, hand holding.

What if I don't want to take away my loved one's autonomy?

In North Carolina, there are "limited guardianships." Limited guardianship allows the person to retain some rights that would otherwise be lost in guardianship. North Carolina law favors limited guardianships if they are tailored to meet the ward's needs. A limited guardianship would allow the court to write the guardianship duties and the ward's rights in a way that gives them more freedom than standard guardianship.

How can I navigate a possible guardianship?

At Carolina Family Estate Planning, we help families build better lives by planning for a secure future. Our team takes an all-inclusive approach to your needs, including possible guardianship proceedings. We focus on building relationships with our clients, offering sound legal advice and expertise to help you make the best decisions for your family. Contact us today at 919-899-2606 or visit our website to schedule a free needs-assessment call. 

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