To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity. Nelson Mandela
Today my daughter and I went to vote. I love it when she does things that other adults do. So far she has graduated from High School, has a job, and is registered to vote. However, with those accomplishments also come lots of fears on my part. Now she can sign contracts, she can move out of the house if she wants to, she can do all things that adult do and her father and I will have no say so in what happens. Fortunately there is a way to help us help her not get into trouble she is not ready to face on her own.
What is Adult Guardianship?
There is a legal process called guardianship or conservatorship depending on where you live. A guardianship is a legal tool that lets one person (in this case the parents) to make decision for an adult who becomes or is unable to make such decisions for him or herself. In this case our own young adult who will be known as the ward. Courts are the ones that are in charge with establishing guardianship and at the same time maintain oversight to reduce the risk of exploitation or abuse to the ward. This means you must go to court and petition/ask them to appoint you as the guardian
So there are different forms of guardianship
In the case of some of our children with disabilities they may be unable to make medical, financial or long-term plans decisions like living arrangements for themselves, this is where having a guardianship becomes a powerful tool.
I have always wanted my daughter to do as much as she could as independent as possible. When I looked into guardianship I was happy to see that Guardianship (in some states) can be limited so I can still give my daughter as much independence, dignity and self-reliance as she needs while still being able to look out for her best interests.
How do I establish Guardianship?
Like I said before, the process is determined by the courts, and the process and laws are governed by the laws of each state. Here are the main steps an individual seeking guardianship needs to take:
One the petition is filed, the court may appoint a person to ensure that the rights or the person with a disability , this person is the Guardian ad Litem. The Guardian ad Litem will perform an independent investigation and reports their findings back to the court. Once all the requirements are completed, a hearing is held and the evidence is presented, and the court makes their ruling.
Who Pays for the Guardianship?
Usually the person petitioning for guardianship pays the cost of the process. If the ward has an estate then the costs may paid for by the ward’s estate.
Things to take into account
Whether you chose to establish guardianship for your young adult with a disability is up to you and your family.
Disclaimer : I want to remind you that I am a non-attorney, advocate. Therefore, the contents of this blog, in its entirety, and should not be construed as legal advice, but, rather the opinion of the author.