Many parents in the Indianapolis area are providing basic care for their teenage children who are struggling with moderate to serious disabilities.
These families may hope for improvement so that their children can function independently once they hit adulthood.
However, they may also recognize that someone will have to continue to provide for and handle the financial and personal affairs for the disabled child once she becomes an adult.
Once a child reaches the age of majority, even if he is disabled, parents no longer have automatic authority to make decisions for him. They will need to obtain a guardianship for their child.
The parent will need to request guardianship for an incapacitated person
To obtain a guardianship, the parents will have to persuade a court to determine that their child is legally incapacitated.
While there may be some cases in which this is a contentious process, in many other cases, a court will easily be able to see that the soon-to-be-adult will require ongoing support once she reaches legal adulthood.
Likewise, although courts will frequently appoint an adult child’s parents as guardians, doing so is not automatic.
Parents who are appointed as guardians will have ongoing responsibilities
Parents who are appointed guardians over their disabled adult child will have a number of responsibilities. They will be expected to handle their child’s finances carefully, only using the child’s property on the child’s behalf.
Likewise, they must act in their child’s best interests when making decisions about medical and personal care.
Finally, they will have to maintain detailed records and be able to report to the court from time to time. They may need legal assistance when fulfilling these duties.
Still, parents may find they need a guardianship in order to apply for and manage important government and other benefits for their disabled children. A guardian is a legal option that parents of children who are disabled and getting ready to turn 18 should consider carefully.