Guardianship is a way to ensure that you can protect your child’s health, safety, and wellbeing. Attorneys on our team understand the ins and outs of guardianship from both a professional and personal perspective. In addition, we advise families with individuals who have special needs with various aspects of care throughout their life, including guardianship when the child reaches the age of 18.
Guardianship may be referred to by different names in different states, and the details of the process may vary as well. Still, guardianship is the process of petitioning the court for the legal authority to make decisions regarding the health care, finances, living situation, education, and other matters for an individual. While a parent maintains the authority to make these decisions for their child before the age of 18, after the child turns 18, authority must be granted by the court. Although parents are most frequently petitioners for guardianship of their adult special needs children, parents aren’t the only ones who may be an appropriate guardian.
If you are considering guardianship for your special needs child, we will first discuss your child’s needs and capabilities, as well as your concerns, with you to assess whether guardianship is the appropriate step to take. If so, we will then draft a petition to the court in the jurisdiction where the child lives. The court will schedule a hearing to assess (i) whether the child does lack the capacity to make or express significant responsible decisions concerning their own health, safety, and welfare, and (ii) whether the petitioner is the most appropriate person to assume legal authority for such decisions. If the answer to both of those questions is yes, the court will grant the petition.
If you are concerned about whether your child or a loved one has the capacity to make responsible decisions about their health, safety, and wellbeing, we can help with the following:
For more information, listen to attorney Kim Martin discuss guardianship here.