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Difference Between Guardianship and Rep Payee
Answer by Ken Golliher, BOL Guru
Guru Bio

Question:   Explain the differences between guardianship and representative payee accounts. Is it just their reporting responsibilities?

Answer:   Courts appoint guardians when an individual is incapable of managing his or her affairs due to a disability. The disability may be due to age or mental or physical incompetence. The guardian of "the property" has wide powers to deal with all of the individual's property; i.e. everything from real property to personal property, including bank accounts.

A representative payee is appointed by a federal agency to handle one specific payment. The individual entitled to the payment has not been declared incompetent in a formal proceeding. The person may be a minor or the agency has just decided that this person would be better off with someone else handling the payment. The representative payee is empowered to deal with the payment made by the agency that appointed him, nothing else.

First published on 1/24/11

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