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Family & Divorce Law

What’s the Difference Between Guardianship and Power of Attorney?

By Tolison & Williams / January 17, 2017

guardianship-elder-law.pngUtilizing legal structures such as guardianship and power of attorney will help you manage your affairs when you’re unable to do so. However, guardianship and a power of attorney both have their own unique benefits.

This is why it’s important to go through your estate planning options with an experienced estate planner in Denver to understand the elements involved in each to ensure you make the right choice for yourself and your family moving forward. Within this latest post, we’ll highlight the differences between guardianship and power of attorney.

Power of Attorney

A power of attorney is a document allowing another person (the agent) to conduct financial business on your behalf. The agent established in your power of attorney document may be given the authority to handle all financial transactions relating to banking and real estate, and it can give the agent the power to make legal decisions on your behalf. A medical power of attorney can be used to allow the agent to make healthcare decisions on your behalf, but this will only become active should you become incapacitated. 


When a person gives guardianship over another person (the ward), they are considered legally responsible for their well-being. A guardianship is the court process for appointing a person, the guardian, to act on behalf of the ward on his or her personal care and medical decisions.

This might involve making medical decisions as well as making decisions on where the ward will live. When a person is appointed a guardian of your estate, they will only have the authority to make decisions on financial matters. The process of appointing a guardian is often completed when a family petitions the court due to their belief the person is unable to care for themselves.

Completing the Legal Process

In completing the legal process for appointing a guardian or a power of attorney, there are some steps you must make. Completing these steps will help ensure all elements of the process are legal under Colorado law and that the relationship between yourself and your guardian or power of attorney is clearly outlined. The following steps must be completed:

1) Fill out the forms

You have to complete the correct forms to document the process and legally outline your intentions. Both the forms for legal guardianship and the power of attorney forms should be reviewed carefully by both signing parties.

2) Consult with a Legal Specialist

Before submitting your forms, you should work with a Denver elder law attorney to determine if the documentation has been completed efficiently. In your meeting, you may learn new information about the process that might change your mind or make you reconsider a previous decision. It’s imperative that both parties go into the process with a full understanding of their role and responsibilities.

By learning more about your legal options, you can make the right decision for your family’s future. To discuss this subject in detail with a Denver elder law attorney, contact our team today!

Tags: Power of Attorney

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