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In addition to the estate planning and administration services offered at Coward Hicks & Siler, we also advise clients regarding guardianship matters. We can help with uncontested guardianships or evaluate the appropriateness of pursuing an involuntary guardianship of a loved one. We can also defend legally competent individuals from the control of another.

The nature of each guardianship is sensitive. We believe you deserve professionalism, respect, and sound legal guidance at all phases of the process. Our lawyers help you understand the process of guardianship proceedings and the limitations and advantages of the types of guardianships available. We help relatives establish guardianships for loved ones in need by reviewing existing guardianships and by counseling individuals on determination of competency.

Guardianship proceedings are necessary to establish legal authority to act on behalf of an adult or a person with special needs. Guardianship is not a planning tool, but rather a method of protecting a person and their property once they are no longer able to make informed decisions for themselves. If the person who is the focus of guardianship is capable of making informed decisions, guardianship proceedings are not appropriate. Informed decisions are made with an awareness of the choices surrounding a decision, the risks and benefits of each option, and the ability to communicate one’s resulting wishes.

A guardianship is a formal process wherein a court of competent jurisdiction grants oversight of a person and/or their property to another based on a person’s incompetency to perform those tasks and to make informed decisions for their own benefit. Guardianships may be necessary for the care of the elderly and persons afflicted with dementia, as well as for people with special needs and disabilities. Guardianships can be voluntary and guided by the wishes of the person upon which the guardianship is focused, derived from a prior power of attorney, or imposed involuntarily if a person does not realize he or she is incapacitated.

There are several different kinds of guardianship recognized in North Carolina. A Guardian of the Person cares for the incapacitated person’s daily needs, including. personal affairs, medical decisions, and educational and vocational decisions. A Guardian of the Estate is responsible for handling the financial affairs, real property, and investment decisions of an incapacitated person. A General Guardian is tasked with both levels of oversight.

The need for guardianship might arise any time a person is unable to make or communicate informed decisions regarding medical care or financial matters. This might be a result of catastrophic injury, stroke, dementia, senility, or mental illness Call the lawyers at Coward Hicks & Siler to discuss your options regarding guardianship. Put our extensive history in estate planning and guardianship matters to work for you.


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Jay Coward in his offices in historic downtown Sylva

J. K. Coward

Kim Coward, Board Certified Specialist in Real Estate - Residential Transactions

Kimberly Coward



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