Different Types of Guardianship

When you are planning for the future, guardianship is one topic to research thoroughly. At Slutsky Elder Law, we help Pennsylvania residents gather the proper legal materials to ensure the best person is appointed as guardian when and if the time comes. We also provide advice and support during the appointing process. Learn how we can support you and your family below. 

What is a Guardianship?

If a person falls physically or mentally ill, it is sometimes appropriate for the courts to appoint a guardian to manage their affairs. Anyone can petition for the guardianship of another person with testimony from a professional. If there is clear and convincing evidence a person is incapacitated, a guardian will be appointed to manage their financial resources and personal care.

Types of Guardianship

Just like powers of attorney, there are different types of guardianship that hold different responsibilities. An appointed guardian may be plenary, meaning they have complete control over the incapacitated person’s affairs, or limited, meaning the court will define their specific powers. All guardians must also seek the approval of the court to make certain actions.

  • Guardian of the Estate – This person has the power and responsibility to gather the assets of the incapacitated person and manage them. This includes paying bills, buying and selling assets, operating businesses that are part of the estate, leasing property, collecting income and rents, maintaining property belonging to the estate, and more. This kind of guardianship requires that the appointed guardian perform their duties with the same judgment they would use when handling their own estate. It is also illegal for a guardian of the estate to use their authority for their own benefit.  Certain powers, such as the ability to sell the incapacitated person’s home or use principal for the incapacitated person’s care, will still require Court approval.


  • Guardian of the Person – This type of guardian is responsible for maintaining the incapacitated person’s physical well-being. This can include making medical decisions, placing the incapacitated person in a nursing home, and more. There are certain powers that require court approval such as withholding or withdrawing care at end of life. 

The guardianship arrangement lasts until the protected person regains the ability to care for themselves or they pass away. The guardian or a family member can ask the court to end a guardianship at any time if they feel it is no longer necessary.

Appointing A Guardian

If you want to appoint a guardian for yourself or a loved one, it is important you speak to a lawyer specializing in elder law to get the best advice. You may choose a single person to hold both guardianships, a different person to hold each one, or multiple people to hold any of these powers. An elder law attorney can give you all the information you need to make the right decisions and guide you through this process.

If you are looking for guardianship lawyers in Montgomery County, PA, or in a neighboring county, Elder Care Attorney Robert Slutsky is one of the most experienced elder law attorneys in PA. Call (610) 940-0650 or fill out the form on our contact page to request a consultation about guardianships or about any concerns you have related to elder law or estate planning.

Previous Post
Elder Law Planning for the Sandwich Generation
Next Post
Study: Half of Older Adults Now Die with a Dementia Diagnosis