Guardian of the Person vs. Guardian of the Estate: Understanding the Differences in Indiana

May 29, 2024

If you have a loved one who is struggling to make financial decisions or care for themselves on a daily basis due to age or incapacity, you may be considering guardianship. There are two main types of guardianship in Indiana, and it’s important to understand the distinction: guardianship of the person and guardianship of the estate. Here at Ball Eggleston, we’ll help you navigate this process and ensure your loved one receives the care they need.

Guardian of the Person

A guardian of the person will focus on the individual’s well-being and is responsible for making decisions about an individual’s daily care, healthcare, and living arrangements. This may include:

  • Choosing a place to live (independent living, assisted living, nursing home)

  • Consenting to medical treatment

  • Hiring caregivers

  • Making personal care decisions (hygiene, clothing)

Guardian of the Estate

A guardian of the estate manages the financial affairs of an individual to protect the individual’s financial well-being and prevent fraud or mismanagement of funds. This includes:

  • Paying bills

  • Collecting income (Social Security, pensions)

  • Investing assets

  • Filing tax returns

  • Buying and selling property

Important Considerations

In some cases, the same person can be appointed guardian of both the person and the estate. However, the court may choose separate guardians if there’s a conflict of interest.

When appropriate, a court can limit a guardianship to encourage development of the incapacitated individual’s self-improvement, self-reliance, and independence, as well as to contribute to the individual’s ability to live a normal life as their condition will safely permit. If your loved one is competent to make decisions but needs assistance with financial dealings or caring for themselves, other alternatives are available. Contact our office to explore those options.

Guardianship is a serious legal step. It’s crucial to consult with an experienced attorney in Indiana to understand the process, your rights, and the best course of action for your loved one.

Contact Ball Eggleston Today

If you have questions about guardianship in Indiana, contact Ball Eggleston today. We offer compassionate and knowledgeable legal guidance to help you navigate these complex situations and ensure your loved one receives the care and protection they deserve.