What’s the difference? Guardianship and power of attorney explained
If the person you care for needs help making decisions – either now or in the future – they might need a guardian or someone with a power of attorney.
But what’s the difference?
Can make decisions about health care, and where and how the person lives
Usually can’t make decisions about legal or money matters
Someone with a power of attorney …
Can make decisions about legal or money matters
Usually can’t make decisions about health care, and where and how the person lives
How do we set things up?
It depends on the person you care for.
If the person can still make decisions now …
If they want someone to make legal or money decisions for them now, they can appoint a power of attorney
If they want someone to step in when they can’t make decisions in the future, they can appoint an ‘enduring’ power of attorney or ‘enduring’ guardian
If the person can’t make decisions now …
Your state or territory government can appoint someone as a guardian and/or power of attorney
That person can step in right away
Each state and territory has different rules about guardianship and powers of attorney. It’s a good idea to talk with a legal service in your state or territory to see what you need to do. Legal Aid commissions in each state or territory provide free legal services.
Have you thought about
If you have feedback on the site, we'd love to hear from you.