Difference between Power of Attorney and Guardianship

Difference Between Power of Attorney and Guardianship

Well, it sounds like both are the same thing. But the power of attorney and guardianship are different in some ways, like the person who is appointing them or the designated person. Both of them will act on your behalf. When you are sick, away, or incapable of making a decision, they will take effect for you.

Suppose you are away from your family member’s company and cannot decide on your own because it is not legal. You have to appoint a person with a legal document designed.

Before that, you need to know the difference between the power of attorney and guardianship. And also, their condition of appointing.


Power of Attorney

Power of Attorney

A power of attorney is the person you will choose. But choosing guardianship is not in your power. A legalized written document allows a person to receive the acting power that he or she will be able to take any financial decisions. Even your personal decision about your property will be under his act.

Imagine you are not able to decide your finance and are confused about your property management or any personal care. Then power of attorney is the answer for you.

You can appoint an expert in the financial field. The person must be honest, loyal, and take any action as requested. A power of attorney should act in the best interest of you and your company.

The person who inherits a power of attorney can be designated before it is necessary. Again, it will exist even you lose your legal power to act. It could affect you immediately if your mental condition is getting worse. Also, your bad physical condition could be a reason.


  • Types of Attorney

The person you appoint is defined as an agent. The agent has the right to the affairs in bank accounts. He or she can also buy and sell any properties of the author’s company.

A general power of attorney can make any financial and personal decisions for you. However, you can restrain the action of the agent. Specification of action of the attorney will be in your hand.

The activity or the recommendation of the agent is your choice. This kind of power defines limited power of attorney. It is appropriate when you are away from the business or on a holiday.

A durable power of attorney gives the ability to take action immediately. Also, when you are incompetent. But the springing power of attorney is applicable in incapacitated conditions only.


  • Is Power of Attorney an Overpowered Term?

It seems so. With this much power, a person can do anything. He can buy or sell any real properties of the owner. Again, he can withdraw any amount of money. Deciding any affairs of the company will be in his hand. Then it could be disastrous, right?

Then the solution is also in your choice. The legalized document empowers the agent this much. It should be durable.  The document must include that you can revoke the power at any time. However, it is applicable as long as you have the mental capacity to do so. To execute a power of attorney, you must be competent.


  • Problems of a Power of Attorney

Several problems come up when a power of attorney is appointed. According to the bank policy, it will not recognize any power of attorney for more than ten years. Renewing the documents of the attorney is the solution.

Problems will occur if you do not renew them. Your family has to file a petition for guardianship to the court.

Joining your account with a power of attorney could be an issue. Your agent must be listed as a power of attorney. Without it, the transaction will be a headache. Many unauthorized transactions might occur.

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A guardianship is not a matter of your choice. The judge of a probate court designates a guardian for you though it has some condition. Usually, children under eighteen years old need guardianship. But adults who lost the capacity of decision-making can also apply.

When a person becomes incapacitated, family members should file a petition to the court. Then the court will decide the guardianship. In general, two physicians examine the inability of the individual and then give the evidence to the court for the necessary procedure.

An attorney will also investigate the matter. He will present the trustworthy documents or proof of incapacity to the court.

Then the court will appoint a guardianship. Family members are applicable to be appointed. Also, your friends, professionals, colleagues can be a good choice. The person who will be appointed must be trustworthy and above eighteen years old. It looks like the guardian is similar to your parents as per his rights.


  • Decisions a Guardian Can Take

Not all the decisions of individuals are empowered by a guardian. There are some limits. The guardian can decide where you live or what services you will take. A guardian can decide the visitors and contact list.

He or she will have the authority over your day-to-day aspects of life. Like your general health care or restricting access to any activity deemed dangerous for you. The guardian will have the final say from you according to your interest.

But in some severe health issues, special permission is required from the court. Some special health problems include sterilization or organ donation. A guardian will not decide them. Also, financial or property matters are not in the guardian’s authorization.


  • What Is Conservatorship?

A conservatorship is a legal relationship also given by the court to a person. The conservator will decide the financial matter for another.

The procedure of the court remains the same. The court will decide the incapability of the person. Then it will appoint a conservator for you. He/she will take care of the financial matter when the individual is incapable of doing so. Your guardian and conservator could be the same person if the court decides.

There is a significant oversight to the appointed conservator. The financial expenses of a conservator have to be reported in court. The report may be annual or monthly.


  • Does Guardianship Override Power of Attorney?

It is not an impossible thing. Guardian will look after personal matters of the ward. The conservator will take care of financial conditions. But the court can appoint the same person a guardian as well as a conservator. Then the conservatorship will override the power of attorney.


Power of Attorney Vs. Guardianship

Power of Attorney Versus Guardianship

Cost is a big issue in appointing a guardian or a power of attorney. Appointing the latter is less costly than the former. A durable power of attorney can remove the necessity of guardianship.

When a power of attorney is in the act, guardianship will not be necessary, even in case of the individual’s incapacity. The principal can also designate a health care attorney to take care of health issues. Durability is the most significant advantage of power of attorney. But guardianship does not have such kinds of law.

When the owner cannot manage on his own, a power of attorney takes over. In the stage of incapacity, no power of attorney can be appointed. The court will then provide you guardianship. It can be obtained when necessary. In the meantime, power of attorney is not allowed in such cases.

The court proceeding takes more time to appoint a guardianship. On the other hand, power can be applied at a less time-consuming period. There is a disadvantage to it. Mainly guardianship is a court order. But power of attorney is your will. Not all sectors will honor it like court orders.

On the contrary, a power of attorney gives you more control over yourself and your decisions. In terms of guardianship, you will not get this advantage.


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Which One Is Suitable for You?

Both of them are to help you in your decision-making appropriately. When you can make decisions, you should appoint an attorney. But it must include durability of the attorney’s power.

On the other hand, guardianship sets many limits to your action. It is only applicable when you lose the ability to act. Guardianship is more time-consuming and costly than power of attorney and often includes the family’s emotions.

That’s why you should choose a trustable and honest person, regardless of said person is being considered for the power of attorney or guardianship.


Power of Attorney Vs. Guardianship: Comparison Table

A table portrays the differences in a quick manner. It is also beneficial to your decision makings.

Power of Attorney



Less costly

Costs more than power of attorney


More control over your life and decisions

Do not have much control over yourself

Time Consumption

Less time-consuming process

Greater time-consuming process

Court Involvement

Do not have any

The court decision is final


No ongoing oversight

Court oversights the act of the guardian


We hope you are now clear about the difference between Power of Attorney and Guardianship. It is up to you whether you choose a power of attorney or a guardian. But do so wisely. Best of luck!

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