Every family is different. As a result, every estate plan is different. Some individuals may benefit from a guardianship, while others may need a power of attorney. Many individuals will choose to create both documents. Read on to learn more about guardianships and powers of attorney in Michigan.

What is a guardianship?

A guardianship is a legal document that authorizes an elected person to handle certain responsibilities for another individual. Typically, this occurs if an adult becomes incapacitated, or more generally, an elderly adult. There are various types of guardianships in Michigan that can be chosen depending on the individual and their circumstances:

  • Guardian of the person: This person makes life decisions for an individual, including health care, education, and welfare.
  • Guardian of the property: This individual manages decisions about the person’s money, investments, and savings. They are expected to file an annual report about the properties.
  • Guardian of the person and property: This individual is responsible for both life and property decisions.
  • Guardian ad litem: This individual is selected by a judge to act for an individual during a court case in the event that they cannot protect their rights or defend their own interests.

What is a power of attorney?

A power of attorney gives a loved one the ability to make important decisions on your behalf in the event that you can no longer make these decisions for yourself. This responsibility is usually given to a close friend or family member. This individual will be able to make decisions about your finances, healthcare, and other important aspects of your life, depending on what you decide:

  • Immediate power of attorney: the power of attorney goes into effect as soon as the document has been executed
  • Springing power of attorney: the power of attorney goes into effect only when a specific event occurs, such as becoming incapacitated, etc.
  • Durable power of attorney: the document remains in effect when you become incapacitated and remains in effect over time
  • Non-Durable power of attorney: the power of attorney is terminated in the event you become incapacitated or disabled

The key difference is that guardianship is generally awarded by the court, while the owner of the estate plan appoints a power of attorney.

If you have any questions about creating a guardianship and/or a power of attorney, our firm is here to help. Reach out today to discuss your options with an experienced estate planning attorney.

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Sometimes, divorce, family, and estate matters are difficult to navigate. Fortunately, they do not have to be with the assistance of a compassionate, knowledgeable attorney who is willing to guide you every step of the way. If you need a seasoned firm to help you with any divorce, family or estate-related matter, please do not hesitate to contact Collis, Griffor & Hendra today to schedule a consultation.

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