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Differences Between Guardianship and Power of Attorney

What is Guardianship?
Guardianship is a court process that provides care and protection to people who lack the mental capacity to make the right decisions about themselves due to any medical or psychological reason. To acquire guardianship of an individual or a minor in Illinois, the judge will consider various aspects of the disabled individual such as:

• The property owned by the individual or minor
• The healthcare needs
• Living conditions of the minor or disabled individual
• The overall expenses and lifestyle

Based on the aforementioned conditions as provided by a skilled family lawyer, the judge will appoint an appropriate guardian or the person can choose their own guardian.

What is a Power of Attorney?
Power of attorney is a legal document that allows an individual to exercise power in terms of decision making for another person on his/her behalf. A power of attorney has a wider scope, it allows the individual you chose to make decisions now, or when you’ve become incompetent. There are two types of power of attorney:

• Power of attorney for property
• Power of attorney for healthcare

A property power of attorney allows a person to select an agent who will be eligible to make major financial or property-related decisions on his/her behalf. On the other hand, the power of attorney for healthcare allows the appointed agent to take any medical or healthcare decisions concerning the health and wellbeing of the individual.

Differences between Guardianship and Power of Attorney
• One of the main differences between guardianship and power of attorney is the power of attorney is a private way to appoint a legal agent to take decisions on your behalf. Moreover, the agent you appoint privately can make a decision now or in a case where you are mentally incapacitated.
• Guardianship is assigned by the judge, which indicates you will need a competent guardianship lawyer to help you in the process.
• As a power of attorney is not a court-based order, some decisions taken by the agent may be considered null and void. When the power of attorney is rejected, you will need to pursue legal guardianship of a minor, or an adult who isn’t able to make their major financial, or property related decisions.
• Power of attorney is considered by some as an estate planning document.
• A legal guardian can make any major decisions regarding business dealings, finances and healthcare.

If you wish to get more information about guardianship or power of attorney or if you want to schedule a consultation with a skilled family lawyer, contact Dan Walker Law Office at (630) 920-8800.

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