Guardianship can be a difficult matter to approach with your family member, particularly if he or she doesn’t believe that a guardianship is necessary. Furthermore, guardianships require court proceedings, which take more time than you have or need. Fortunately, South Carolina law does provide for some less restrictive alternatives to guardianship, which can still allow you to protect your loved one without going to the extent of seeking guardianship.
The Adult Health Care Consent Act
Under South Carolina’s Adult Health Care Consent Act, people who have certain relationships with an individual may have the legal authority to make healthcare decisions for that individual who has become incapacitated or unable to communicate his or her wishes. For instance, in some situations, the Act may authorize a spouse, adult child, or parent to make decisions for an incapacitated person.
Healthcare Power of Attorney
A health care power of attorney (HCPOA) is a legal document that allows you to make decisions about a person’s health care if he or she is unable to do so. This document only becomes operative if the subject of the HCPOA is incapacitated to the extent that he or she is unable to make these important decisions. For instance, if an individual is involved in a car wreck and is unconscious, then the person holding the HCPOA for that individual can authorize different forms of medical treatment on that individual’s behalf.
Durable Power of Attorney
A durable power of attorney (DPOA) is much more extensive legal document than a HCPOA. Whereas a HCPOA involves only decisions related to an individual’s healthcare, a DPOA can cover many different types of important decisions that an individual may need to make. These decisions may include, but are not limited to, decisions about property, finances, bills, and even pets, as well as health care. A DCPOA can authorize you to make decisions for an individual without having court-ordered guardianship over an individual. In this respect, it is a less restrictive alternative that is also much more efficient than seeking guardianship.
Joint Ownership of Property
When it comes to making decisions about property, the simplest option may be to jointly title the property at issue. If the joint owner of the property becomes incapacitated, then you will still have the right to make decisions as to that property. Joint ownership has different conditions and consequences according to the type of property involved. Property that may be subject to joint ownership includes real estate, bank accounts, and vehicles.
Contact Your Greenville Guardianship Attorney for Advice
Elliott Frazier Law Firm, LLC, represents clients in all guardianship, conservatorship, and family law matters in Greenville, Spartanburg, Oconee, Anderson, and Pickens. We have the experience and knowledge to handle your legal matter, no matter difficult these issues might seem. Contact our office today to set up an appointment with one of our Greenville, South Carolina guardianship lawyers, and learn how we can help you with your case.