You know that the skills required to supervise the health care needs of your loved one are vastly different from those needed to manage his or her finances. The individual who is best qualified to tuck your loved one in at night and make medical decisions might be the least qualified to handle financial or legal issues (and vice versa). The first responsibility (housing and health care) require someone with a “good heart” who is loving and understanding. The law calls this individual the “guardian of the person” because this guardian oversees personal care needs. The second responsibility (financial and legal) requires someone with a “good head on his or her shoulders.” Such a person must possess sound financial and legal judgment. The law calls this person the “guardian of the estate” because this guardian oversees financial and legal issues.
You are fortunate if you know someone who is equally qualified to serve as both a guardian of the person and of the estate for your loved one. If not, there is no need to worry, because the law allows you to name different individuals for these very different roles. Any good plan to provide for the future care of your loved one starts with resolving these guardianship issues. Once the proper guardian are selected, it is necessary to provide them specific written instructions concerning the proper care desired for your loved one.