If you have a loved one with a disability that limits his or her ability to capably make important personal, financial, legal, or medical decisions, you may understandably be concerned about his or her long-term welfare. One option for individuals with developmental disabilities, or other conditions that affect their ability to make decisions, is guardianship. A guardianship gives a person or group of people the legal power and responsibility to make crucial decisions for another person.

Types of Guardianship

Guardianship is an option for individuals with disabilities, whether minors, young people turning 18 or older adults who can no longer make important decisions. There are different kinds of guardianships for individuals with differing types of disabilities, as well as different levels of decision-making capacity and independence. Having worked for years with families of persons with disabilities, our team at KSLN is knowledgeable and qualified to handle any guardianship proceedings.

Used primarily for individuals with developmental disabilities, Article 17-A guardianships allow parents, or other family members, to retain decision-making authority and, if necessary, financial control. Since the legal age of majority is 18 in New York State, even people with significant developmental disabilities are considered adults under the law when they become 18. Without a guardianship, no one can make needed decisions for such an adult.

Article 81 guardianships are more complex. It typically applies in the case of an acquired disability caused by an accident, disease, or old age. This type of guardianship is more easily customized to provide limited independence for the ward as his or her abilities warrant.

Drawbacks of Guardianship and Alternatives

Guardianships can provide a sense of security for parents and family members of individuals with disabilities. However, they are not always advisable. Families considering guardianship should consult with a disabilities law attorney about all available options, including:

Come to us with any legal questions regarding individuals with disabilities and you are sure to receive compassionate, attentive service and top-notch legal expertise.

To learn more about KSLN, and how we can help you, please contact us today for a free initial consultation.