Key Practice Areas
> Special Needs Guardianships

 

Key Practice Areas

Overview

 

Organizations Practice
Business & Nonprofit
     Law Counseling

Business Life Cycle
Planning®

Socially Responsible
Enterprises

Corporate and Nonprofit Law
Litigation

 

Individuals Practice
Estate Planning:
     Wills, Trusts, Probate

Special Needs
     Guardianships

Special Needs Planning
     and Settlement Planning

 

 

Guardianship options

 

Guardianship is a legal option for people who want to be responsible for someone who may not be able to handle financial affairs or make informed medical decisions. To be a guardian means to assume responsibility for that person's care, administer financial affairs and make medical decisions. In order to do that, you may have to become the legal guardian of the “person” (medical) and “property” (financial), referred to in legalese as the “ward.”

 

We provide targeted transition guardian services for children who are about to turn 18 and are moving out of the school system and into adult life. We work with parents, health care providers and school personnel in a collaborative effort to make the process of obtaining a guardianship over a special child as smooth and straightforward as possible.

 

Transition guardianships permit parents to continue to make decisions for children during the legal transition from dependent to adult.

 

Surrogate Decision-Making is a legal option for parents of highly-functioning people with special needs who still need assistance with financial affairs.

 

Guardianships allow people to care for loved ones incapable of independent living.

 

Guardianship is an emotionally fraught decision
and a complex legal process.

When you seek guardianship over someone, you are seeking to limit that person's rights and liberties. The decision to become someone’s guardian involves you in a complex legal process, requiring a lot of paperwork and a trip to court to obtain appointment as the legal guardian. We try to de-mystify the process and walk alongside you down the path.

 

We begin with an assessment of the person’s capabilities.

We work with you to explore the ability limits of your loved one in order to fashion a guardianship that gives you the authority you need to protect that person while, at the same time, preserving for that person as much independence and self-determination as possible.

 

Transition guardianships permit parents to make decisions
for adult children with special needs.

When a child with special needs turns 18, legally he or she is considered an emancipated adult, free to go where she wants and do what she pleases. In actuality, the child may not have the skills and coping mechanisms to survive independently as an adult in the real world. However, once the child turns 18, privacy rules will prevent doctors, teachers, banks and others from consulting with parents or even giving parents information about their child. These limitations often frustrate parents and hamper their efforts to care for and protect their special child. In such cases, the parents may need to obtain legal guardianship in order to stay involved in determining the care for their special child.

 

Surrogate Decision-Making for Persons with Special Needs is a
cost-effective alternative to legal guardianship
.

A highly-functioning person with special needs may not be so disabled as to be a candidate for guardianship. For example, you may have a child who has a very mild case of autism, who is 18, has graduated high school and has developed a good set of coping skills enabling him to participate in mainstream life. However, he may have problems with numbers, counting and math.
Your child can authorize you to handle his money and finances through a properly-drafted financial power of attorney. With the power of attorney, you can open up bank and brokerage accounts for your child and manage the money. You can pay bills and provide spending money. This is a simple and cost-effective way for a high-functioning person to get supplemental help, without requiring the caretaker person to go to through the aggravation and expense associated with obtaining a full guardianship.