As a person ages, it becomes more and more likely that he or she will not be able to manage his or her own health or assets. Ideally, a complete estate plan will lay out who will receive power of attorney in the event that the person in question is mentally or otherwise legally incapacitated. However, in the event that a living will or estate plan is not securely in place, often the only option for concerned loved ones is petitioning for guardianship. In the state of Delaware, there are two different types of guardianship available: the “guardian of the person” and the “guardian of the property.”
A guardianship of the person refers to being the legal representative of the individual in question where his or her health and personal affairs are concerned. Basically, if you are named a guardian of the person, you are the one in charge of making decisions related to nursing care, health care, and other personal matters. These are very commonly established when an elderly loved one is beginning to exhibit signs of dementia or another neurological degenerative disease.
A guardian of the property, on the other hand, is in charge of the assets of another person. An individual who is designated a guardian of the property will be in charge of managing any businesses, property, stocks, or other holdings.
It is, of course, possible that the same person can be both the guardian of the property and of the person. However, Delaware law does allow these rules to be split up among different people if this is either desired by the parties in question or ordered by the courts.