You just found out that your grandmother’s dementia has worsened and she needs more help but she never got around to signing powers of attorney. Now what? Guardianship is the court process to determine whether she is incompetent and, if so, to appoint a guardian for her.
Anyone can file a Petition for Adjudication of Incompetency and Appointment of Guardian to start the process, but the petition must include your recommendation for guardian. Once the petition is filed, the court will appoint a guardian ad litem who will investigate and will represent the person who might be incompetent. A hearing will take place a few weeks later before the Clerk of Court who serves as the judge in these proceedings.
A guardian of the person equates to an agent under a health care power of attorney and makes medical and living decisions. A guardian of the estate is similar to an agent under a financial power of attorney and manages the person’s finances. A general guardian fills both roles.
Garrity & Gossage handles dozens of guardianships every year in Mecklenburg, Union, Cabarrus and Stanly Counties. We can represent the petitioner (the person who files the petition alleging incompetence), the respondent (the person whose competence is in question) or the guardian. Once a guardian is appointed, annual reports must be filed with the court, and G&G can prepare and file those for you.