Guardianship of Disabled Adults

When someone needs help with paying bills or managing their affairs, a power of attorney may get the job done.  But sometimes, due to either disability, illness, or advanced age, a person cannot manage their own affairs or make good decisions.  In those situations, a court can appoint a guardian over the disabled person (who is called the “ward”).

The extent of the guardian’s role in making decisions for the ward is determined by the court.  There are two main types of guardianship: guardian of the person and guardian of the estate.

A guardian of the person makes decisions regarding where the ward will live, what medical treatment the the ward receives, and other social services that may be appropriate for the ward.

A guardian of the estate makes decisions about the wards finances.

Guardianship isn’t an all-or-nothing affair.  The court has flexibility to appoint a guardian with limited authority, if appropriate for the needs of the ward.