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Steps to Initiating Guardianship for an Adult With Special Needs

Adult with Special Needs

Any person with special needs who is under the age of 18 automatically falls under the protection and guardianship of their parents. If the parents are no longer alive or unable to be suitable guardians, then the court will assign guardians that will look after the child. A guardian is responsible for making sure the child is taken care of, all paperwork for their condition is filled out and filed, and the child’s finances are taken care of.

When the child reaches 18 years of age, it is no longer automatically assumed that they fall under their parent’s guardianship. In general terms, an 18-year-old is an adult able to make their own decisions. But there are instances where a special needs adult requires guardianship to be properly protected and cared for.

Step 1 – Hire A Good Attorney

Most parents assume that it will be simple to petition the court to become guardian of their special needs adult child. But there is a process that has to be followed and the court is liable to make a decision the parents are not expecting if that process is not done properly. Hiring an attorney is the smart thing to do because it ensures that everything will be done properly.

Step 2 – Apply For And Obtain Guardianship

Once parents or any qualified family member apply for guardianship of a special needs adult, the courts will require proof that the adult needs a guardian. There are several medical and cognitive tests that need to be done that will help the court to make a decision. As long as the doctors agree that a guardian is needed, the courts will normally go along and approve the arrangement.

Step 3 – Get A Power Of Attorney For The Special Needs Adult

A guardian is going to need a power of attorney to be able to make financial decisions for the special needs adult. There are many different ways of going about this, and the approach can sometimes depend on whether or not the court feels that the special needs adult is able to handle their own financial affairs. If it is determined that the adult will need assistance, then a power of attorney will be put into place. Regardless, everyone over the age of eighteen (18) needs a  power of attorney.

Step 4 – Engage In Estate Planning Activities

The guardian of a special needs adult will want to talk to a professional estate planner about ways to handle the funds necessary to care for the adult. For example, it may be wise to set up a special needs trust which allows the family to give the special needs adult money without damaging the adult’s chances of being approved for important public funding. Our firm has handled many different guardianship cases for special needs adults. If you need compassionate and reliable legal guidance in this sensitive situation, then call caring special needs planning lawyers The Mattar Firm today.


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