Guardian of the Person vs. Guardian of the Estate

Guardian of the Person vs. Guardian of the Estate

What is the difference?

Everyone is a legal adult once they turn 18 years old. However, sometimes there are individuals that need their loved ones, or a trusted individual, to make decisions for their own best interests. This is when Guardianship comes into play.

Some individuals need a Guardian of the Person (GOP), some need a Guardian of the Estate (GOE), and some need both.

Guardian of the Person (GOP)

A Guardian of the Person (GOP) is typically able to make all decisions for the ward, except for regarding finances. The main issues are medical decision-making (doctors and medications), residential decision-making (where to live, with who, and how long), and personal safety decisions (making sure the Ward has the necessary protections).

Limited Guardian of the Person (Limited GOP)

A Limited Guardian of the Person (Limited GOP) is one that was appointed as GOP, but the Court limited their powers due to the Ward being able to retain decision-making ability in certain areas.

Normally Limited Guardianships are put into place when the Ward still has the ability to make certain decisions in their lives, and also when Wards are working towards restoration of competency. A limited GOP can be a positive step towards full restoration.

Guardian of the Estate (GOE)

A Guardian of the Estate (GOE) is responsible for making only financial decisions. Therefore, since the GOP makes residential decisions, and many of these decisions have associated costs, this requires the GOE to work with the GOP to make sure the GOP's decisions are realistic and fit in the Ward's budget.

General Guardian

A General Guardian is one who has been appointed both GOP and GOE. Although most individuals that apply to be guardians want and expect to be the General Guardian, being appointed a General Guardian is not the norm. First, the Ward needs to have an appropriate level of assets to justify having a guardian over finances. Second, the Court often decides to appoint separate guardians so that there is more of a checks and balances system in place for the Ward's protection.