A guardian is a person who has the power and the responsibility to make certain decisions about your care. A guardian may decide where you live, what medical care you will receive, and who will care for you every day.
If you do not have a Durable Power of Attorney or a Durable Health Care Power of Attorney, then court proceedings will be held so that a judge can appoint a guardian for you. This process takes time and it is costly.
The court can either appoint a Full Guardian meaning that the guardian has full care and control over you like a parent has full control over their child. Or the court can appoint a Limited Guardian meaning that your guardian only has the control that the court granted them to have over you. Typically, this is because you do not require someone to completely take care of you.
Typically, you need a guardian if you do not have sufficient understanding or capacity to make or communicate informed decisions about yourself because of impairment, such as: 1) a mental illness or deficiency; 2) a physical illness or disability; or 3) chronic use of alcohol/other intoxicants.
If you have a properly drafted Durable Power of Attorney or a properly drafted Durable Health Care Power of Attorney you can most likely avoid having the court appoint a guardian because you have already appointed someone to make these decisions for you.