Wayne County DSS provides guardianship services to individuals who are alleged to be incompetent or have been declared incompetent by the court. Incompetent means the adult is considered incapable of making important decisions concerning his/her well-being and/or resources. Guardianship Services are provided, when appropriate, to those individuals 18 years or older or any emancipated minor, in conjunction with Adult Protective Services or as a stand alone service, depending upon case circumstances.


Guardianship is considered as a last resort and only when other methods of assisting adults are not sufficient. Relatives and/or individuals personally concerned with the adult’s well-being are encouraged to serve as guardians; however, public agencies are appointed as guardians when there is no other appropriate individual or corporation available to serve.


There are three types of guardians: Guardian of the Person, Guardian of the Estate and General Guardian:


  •  A Guardian of the Person is appointed “solely for the purpose of performing duties related to the care, custody and control of a ward”. [G.S. 35A-1202(10)]
  •  A Guardian of the Estate is appointed “solely for the purpose of managing the property, estate and business affairs of a ward.” [G.S. 35A-1202(9)]
  • General Guardian means a guardian of both the estate and the person. [G.S. 35A-1202(7)]


The Guardian’s responsibilities may include, but are not limited to:


  • Deciding where the adult will live
  • Authorizing medical treatment
  • Managing the adult’s finances (guardian of the estate or general guardian)


For more information regarding guardianship services, you may contact a guardianship social worker at our agency at 919-580-4034. In addition, the link found below provides additional guardianship information such as the guardian’s responsibilities and guardianship court proceedings.