Guardianship and Poa are two legal entities that are often confused with each other due to their similarities, but there are distinct differences between the two. Guardianship and Power of Attorney (Poa) are both legal documents that provide individuals with the authority to act on behalf of another person, but they are quite different in terms of their purpose, scope, and duration.
Guardianship is a legal arrangement that is often used when an individual (the ‘ward’) is deemed incapable of making their own decisions. The guardian is appointed by the court to make decisions on behalf of the ward, and their authority is limited to the areas specified in the court order. These areas may include medical treatment, education, housing, and other aspects of life. Once the guardianship is established, the court will review the guardian’s decisions on a regular basis to make sure that they are in the best interests of the ward.
Power of Attorney (Poa) is a legal document that allows an individual (the ‘principal’) to appoint another individual (the ‘agent’) to act on their behalf. The principal can specify the scope of the agent’s power and the duration of the Poa. Unlike guardianship, the agent’s authority is not limited to certain areas, and they may be able to make decisions on behalf of the principal in any area that the Poa covers. Additionally, the principal can revoke the Poa at any time, whereas a guardianship cannot be revoked without a court order.
In summary, the main difference between guardianship and Poa is that guardianship is a court-ordered arrangement that is used when an individual is incapable of making their own decisions, and it is limited to certain areas specified by the court. On the other hand, Poa is an agreement between two individuals that grants the agent the authority to make decisions on behalf of the principal, and the scope and duration of the agent’s authority can be specified by the principal.
Difference between POA and Guardianship
Difference in Scope
A Power of Attorney (POA) is a legal document that gives someone else the authority to make decisions on behalf of another person. The scope of a POA is limited to the specific powers that are granted in the document. The person granting the authority is called the “principal” and the person receiving the authority is called the “agent”.
On the other hand, Guardianship is a legal process through which a court appoints an adult to handle the affairs of a minor child or an adult who is unable to manage his/her own affairs. A guardian is responsible for making decisions on behalf of the person they are appointed to protect, known as the “ward”. A guardianship is much more far-reaching than a POA, as the guardian is responsible for making decisions in all aspects of the ward’s life, including decisions related to medical care, education, and finances.
Difference in Termination
A POA is usually valid until the principal revokes it or until the death of the principal. Unless the POA specifies an end date, it is generally considered to be in effect until the principal terminates it.
On the other hand, a guardianship can only be terminated by a court order. The guardian or the ward may petition the court to terminate the guardianship. The court may terminate the guardianship if it finds that the situation of the ward has changed such that a guardianship is no longer necessary.
Difference in Cost
The cost of a POA depends on the complexity of the document and the attorney fees. Typically, the cost of a POA ranges from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars.
The cost of establishing a guardianship is much higher. The court filing fees and attorney fees can easily exceed several thousand dollars. In addition, the guardian may be required to post a bond or provide other forms of security to the court. The cost of a guardianship is usually much higher than the cost of a POA.