Guardianship for Adults with Disabilities
What is Guardianship for an adult with a disability?
Guardianship is a type of surrogate decision-making that, where it is appropriate and necessary, can be a viable means by which the security and well-being of a disabled adult are protected.
Guardianship is a legal relationship that can only be created by a court of law. Guardianship is created when a judge has determined that an adult individual a) has a disability, and b) that disability either totally or partially impairs their ability to make decisions for themselves. When these conditions have been established, the judge may appoint another person to act as the surrogate decision maker for the adult with a disability.
There are different types of guardianship, and the type of guardianship that will be appropriate depends entirely on the disabled person's individual needs.
What is the difference between Full Guardianship and Limited Guardianship?
Full Guardianship Full Guardianship (also known as Plenary Guardianship) is a type of guardianship that is utilized when an individual has a disability that significantly interferes with all decision-making processes. When this is the case, the person with a disability is in need of a full or Plenary Guardian, who is a court-appointed person given the authority to make decisions for the disabled person. All decision-making authority is given to the full Guardian.
Limited Guardianship Limited Guardianship may be appropriate where an individual has a disability that only impairs some decision-making capabilities. A Limited Guardianship can be specifically tailored to the current needs of the disabled adult who can still make some decisions for themselves, but may require a surrogate decision-maker in other areas. The Limited Guardian is granted decision-making authority only over certain, specified areas, and the disabled adult retains authority over everything else.
What is Guardianship of the Person?
Guardianship of the Person, or Personal Guardianship, may be appropriate utilized where an individual has a disability and that disability renders them either totally incapable of making personal decisions, which would necessitate the appointment of a Full or Plenary Personal Guardian, or that disability partially impairs their ability to make personal decisions, which would suggest that a Limited Personal Guardian would be appropriate. In this context, "personal decisions" include things such as where that individual lives, what doctors they see and what medications they take, educational decisions such as IEP planning and transition planning, employment or vocational decisions, day-program and recreational planning decisions.
What is Financial Guardianship?
Financial Guardianship is the type of Guardianship utilized when the disabled adult has assets in their own name, and their disability renders them either totally incapable of managing financial decisions (which would result in a full or plenary financial guardianship), or they are partially incapable of making financial decisions, which would lead to a limited financial guardianship.
Contact The Law Office of Amy Handler Kasallis Today
Understanding the various forms of Guardianship, and determining what type may be appropriate for your family's particular needs, can feel overwhelming. Getting the help you need to navigate the complexities is right at your fingertips. Contact us today to schedule a consultation. We will discuss your case, explain your options, and help you determine your next best steps.