What is a guardianship?

A guardianship is a legal appointment that allows a person or institution to make decisions for and exercise the legal rights of an incapacitated person.  In North Carolina there are six types of guardianships.  Which type is appropriate depends upon the incapacitated person’s circumstances.  Our attorneys can help evaluate which type of guardianship is appropriate.

Who can act as a guardian?

A guardian can be an individual, often a family member, or an institution such as a bank or trust company, or a public agent such as the Department of Health and Human Services.  In order to serve as guardian, an individual must be an adult, over the age of eighteen, and either a resident of North Carolina or a non-resident willing to submit in writing to the jurisdiction of North Carolina.

How is a guardian appointed?

The appointment of a guardian is a two-step process.  First, there must be an incompetency hearing in front of the clerk of court to determine if the incapacitated person is legally incompetent and in need of a guardianship.   Once the clerk has determined an individual to be incompetent, the clerk will select the guardian, typically it is the person who has filed for the incompetency hearing, but not always.  The second step is the application and appointment of guardian.  The selected guardian must submit an application for guardianship to the clerk and receive guardianship papers from the clerk which show that the selected guardian is the legally appointed guardian for the incompetent person.  Our attorneys are experienced with representing individuals in incompetency hearings and the guardianship process.  We can assist you with getting guardianship for your elderly parent or disabled adult child.

Who needs a guardian?

The most common individuals who need a guardian are adults with a disability or elderly individuals who are no longer competent because of age related.  If you have a child with a disability, you can begin the guardianship proceeding at age 17 ½ so that it will be completed by the time your child is eighteen, the age of adulthood.  Please call our office and speak with an attorney to determine if a guardianship is appropriate and when you should start the process.


Do you need help with a Guardianship?  Our law firm has experience in the Guardianship process. Give us a call or send us a message today!