Does your child need to live with a friend or relative for personal reasons, or to attend school? Are you relocating and do not wish to uproot your child? Are you facing a potentially terminal illness? Is your child with special needs approaching adulthood? Our firm can help families facing difficult choices. We can evaluate your individual situation and help you decide how to accomplish your goals for your child, with appropriate legal protection for you, him, and the guardian of your choice.
General Guardianships for Minors
A legal guardianship grants the guardian the authority to sign forms, make medical decisions, and basically fill in as a parent for your child. Your parental rights will remain intact, and you can discontinue the guardianship at the time of your choosing.
A guardianship can be an ideal solution for parents who will be working in another state or overseas, for a child who is living with friends or relatives for school or for personal reasons, or for any other time when you know that you might not be readily available to protect and assist your child.
The last thing a very ill parent want to worry about is whether her child will be placed with the person of her choosing. A pre-need guardianship allows you to exercise your rights to choose the next guardians for your child when you fear you may not be able to parent him to adulthood.
Guardianships for Persons with Developmental Disabilities: the Guardian Advocate
Our firm can help you with planning ahead for your child with special needs. If your child is a person with developmental disabilities who lacks the ability to do some, but not all of the tasks necessary to care for himself and his property, the court can appoint a guardian advocate. Appointing a guardian advocate is a relatively simple procedure and does not require an adjudication of incapacity. Because there is no declaration of incapacity, appointing a guardian advocate does not deprive the person with a disability of his civil and legal rights.
The court may grant a guardian advocate the right to apply for government benefits, manage money and property, determine where your child lives, consent to medical and mental health services, and perform many other functions that you provide now for your child.
General Guardianships for Adults
For situations in which a person over the age of eighteen needs a guardian, the court must hold a hearing to determine whether she is incapacitated. If it determines that the person is unable to make her own decisions, it may appoint a guardian to exercise and protect her legal rights.
Generally, families file legal guardianship proceedings when someone has dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, a developmental disability, chronic illness, or other conditions that severely limit his ability to function. Guardianship is considered the last resort because it is a restrictive option that removes the ward’s rights. Guardians are required to file reports with the court.