Principles of Guardianship
Principles of for the Person Involved
The Guardian’s Responsibilities
A Guardian serves as a surrogate decision maker and advocate for an individual (the Ward) who has been determined incompetent. However, the Guardian must allow the Ward to participate as much as possible in the decisions affecting him or her. The Guardian is also required to preserve the opportunity for the Ward to exercise the rights that are within his or her comprehension and judgment, allowing for the same possibility of error as a person who is not incompetent.
The Guardian must advocate for the Ward and protect the Ward’s right to make his or her own choices. Wards should be given the opportunity to take as much control over their lives as possible. This means that Guardians must support Wards in developing the necessary skills for assuming responsibility in their decision making.
If the Ward is incapable of making certain decisions for him or herself, the Guardian should make decisions based on the expressed wishes of the Ward or what the Ward would decide if he or she was capable of making the decisions. In order to make the best decision, the Guardian should seek prior information about the Ward’s value system, wishes, and needs. The Guardian may get this information from the Ward or the Ward’s family, friends, or a legal document, such as a Living Will or Health Care Power of Attorney. In instances where the Ward has never been able to participate in the decision making process or express wishes and values, the Guardian makes decisions based on the Ward’s best interest.
The Guardian must be sensitive to the Ward’s needs, values, and wishes. Through this sensitivity, the Guardian can ensure that the decisions he or she makes with the Ward are individualized, consistent with the Ward’s value system, and are in the Ward’s best interest. No Guardian may consent to the sterilization of a Ward without a court order.
Click on the following for further information:
Responsibilities of Guardians in North Carolina(AOC-SP-850)
Modifying an Existing Guardianship
If a guardianship has already been established and you would like to see it modified, you may bring your request to the attention of the Clerk by filing a Motion in the Cause to Modify Guardianship (AOC-E-415 Rev 7/06).
Alternatives to Guardianship and Incompetency:
For information about health care powers of attorney and living wills (health care directives), please visit the North Carolina Secretary of State’s Advanced Health Care Directive Registry. (http://www.secretary.state.nc.us/ahcdr/)
State Law prohibits the Clerk’s Office staff from; providing any legal advice, providing instructions for completing forms, referring an attorney, or recommending specific ways to pursue legal action.