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How guardianships help adults with special needs

| May 11, 2022 | Firm News

If you have a child, you know that your role as a parent never ends. That’s especially true if you have a child with special needs. Mental and physical limitations can mean your child may never be completely independent. One way to help is through a guardianship.

What is a guardianship?

A guardianship is a legal relationship in which one person, or in some cases, a charity or business entity, has legal power to make decisions for another person. Indiana law considers children to be under a type of guardianship, and their parents have legal authority to make certain decisions on their behalf until the child reaches age 18 and becomes a legal adult. However, there are cases where a guardianship is in the best interest of an adult. This type of guardianship is common for adults who have become partially or fully incapacitated due to illness or injury. They can also be important for people who have a chronic condition that renders them incapable of fully caring for their own affairs.

Powers and limitations

When a court grants a person a guardianship over an adult they are limited in their powers. These powers only include what the disabled person (ward) cannot accomplish independently and may include:

  • Making financial decisions.
  • Making medical decisions.
  • Arranging care for the ward.
  • Making sure educational and medical needs are met for the ward.
  • Submitting updates to the court regarding the ward. The court updates include the ward’s living situation, physical and mental health conditions, list of services being received by the ward, ward’s financial information, any other information the court requests.

A guardian is meant to be a decision-maker in the ward’s life, not their caregiver. They step in to make important decisions and to give consent to things that the ward may not be able to.

If you are interested in learning more about adult guardianships, an attorney who specializes in them can be a great help. They have the experience necessary to look at your situation and help you decide if a guardianship can be helpful.