Working around an elderly loved one’s illnesses can be very stressful for the entire family. Across the United States, Delaware included, many people are dealing with elderly family members at the mercy of degenerative neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s and forms of dementia. Once this occurs, it is important to d figure out how to deal with your loved one’s medical and legal affairs. According to Wake Forest University, whether you need a guardianship or power of attorney depends on the mental capacity of the person in question.

If the person in question is still mentally competent and able to make decisions, it is wise to try to obtain a power of attorney. This is especially important in the event that your loved one has Alzheimer’s or another degenerative disease that is likely to worsen and rob him or her of mental capacity. Power of attorney is often handled outside of court, and also tends to be less disempowering and acrimonious. The state of Delaware encourages everybody to try for power of attorney first and only result to guardianship if absolutely necessary.

Guardianship, on the other hand, is established if the person in question does not have the mental capacity to establish power of attorney. It is also possible to get temporary guardianship of a person. For example, if your loved one has suffered a stroke and cannot manage his or her own Affairs in the immediate aftermath. In this case, it is possible for a guardianship to be terminated if your loved one can regain his or her ability to manage affairs.