Power of attorney vs legal guardianship


A power of attorney is meant to avoid the need for a guardianship by appointing someone to take care of business and health care decisions for you.  If you don't have a power of attorney and you become incompetent, the is will be necessary to great a legal guardianship for you and that can take up to five months and cost up to $5,000.


Steve: Good morning. I'd like to know if there's such a thing as a forcible power of attorney.

Attorney Tom Olsen: I've never heard the term forcible power of attorney. What do you think that that type of power of attorney would do, Steve?

Steve: Well, my dad is 93 years old. He doesn't want to get power of attorney but he's starting to have some Alzheimer's and dementia.

Attorney Tom Olsen: I get you.

Steve: I've got a feeling, eventually, I'm going to have to do it against his will, that's what I'm getting at.

Attorney Tom Olsen: I get you, okay. Steve, if your dad will not voluntarily sign a power of attorney, and it would be great if he would, then your only recourse is what's called a legal guardianships where you would go to the court, petition the court to appoint a legal guardian for your dad. Your court would appoint a panel of three people to go out and interview him. If he thinks it is appropriate, he would appoint a legal guardian for your dad, it might be you, it might be somebody else. But once you have that legal guardianship, then it gives you the authority to make health care decisions for him and manage his financial affairs. I would prefer that you do a power of attorney because it's a cheap option to take charge of his health and finances. A legal guardianship is about five months and $5,000 to set one up Steve, but sometimes that's all you can do.