Families in Indiana who have a loved one with mental or physical disabilities are concerned about their future. If their loved one needs protection, it is important to know the options to protect them.
Adult guardianships can be useful
Adult guardianships are often used to protect people who are legally incapacitated due to illness, injury or chronic condition. If, for example, the person in need of protection has autism, a parent or other relative can be their guardian.
The adult guardianship gives the guardian a wide range of leeway over the protected person, allowing them to oversee their property, finances and other assets.
The guardianship’s scope is based on the best interests of the protected person. When they have room to improve if they are recovering after an injury or a condition, then the guardianship can be limited to let the protected person incrementally care for themselves. They can even ask to end the guardianship if it is no longer needed.
Alternatives to guardianship may be preferable
There are several alternatives to an adult guardianship that might be better based on the exact circumstances of the situation. These include supported decision making; having a health care representative; or a power of attorney.
With supported decision making, the vulnerable person picks a person or persons to help them make their decisions. This grants them a level of self-determination while still shielding them from possible dangers.
A health care representative is a supportive person who will help the vulnerable person in making health care decisions they might not be able to make. The status can be withdrawn if the vulnerable person is declared competent.
The power of attorney delegates authority to another individual who can make decisions on behalf of the person. It can be expansive or limited.
Guidance with adult guardianships and its alternatives
Regardless of how a person goes about being granted the legal right to oversee the affairs of a vulnerable person, it is important to be fully aware of the rights, the responsibilities and what the entire process entails.
It is not a minor decision to ask for an adult guardianship or using another way to protect a vulnerable person. For the good of the protected person and the prospective guardian, consulting with experienced professionals can be helpful.