Guardianship: A Basic Understanding for Parents
It could be that a form of limited guardianship, over health care or financial matters as an example, is more appropriate. This would allow a named guardian to support a child in making good decisions over specific matters, without taking the more absolute step of full guardianship. Full guardianship ultimately may limit the child’s independence in ways that are not necessary, such as removing the child’s ability to vote. For others conservatorship (where a conservator is appointed to manage financial matters) may be a more suitable alternative to address a financial need only. Additional options such as Power of Attorney for financial decisions, or Power of Attorney for health care decisions, can be useful tools in support of the child.
Each of these alternatives has its advantages and disadvantages. It is important for parents to know that they have options, and there is no single answer that is applicable to all situations. Parents must take the time to gain an understanding of these options and make an educated decision on behalf of, or with, their child.
Originally published in Sept/Oct 2010 Issue of Parenting Special Needs Magazine.
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