What are the Qualifications for Guardianship of a Port Charlotte Special Needs Individual
The city of Port Charlotte is filled with good people from strong families who are always looking out for each other. Parents with a special needs child want to do everything they can to protect that child and help them to grow into adulthood. But when a child with special needs turns 18, the law considers them to be an adult capable of making their own decisions. If the family feels that the special needs person needs a guardian to make decisions for them, then they petition the court to assign a guardian. It is a serious matter and one the courts do not take lightly.
Why Assign a Guardian?
If the family of a special needs child approaching their 18th birthday feels that the child will be incapable of making decisions regarding their own estate and finances, then the family will petition the court to assign a guardian. It is something done to protect the individual and make sure that no one tries to take advantage of them. But it is also an action that seriously limits the freedom of the special needs individual, which is why courts only assign guardians as a last resort.
Who can be a Guardian?
There is a priority list courts use to determine who should be assigned as guardian of a special needs person. If the person at the top of the list is unable to be a guardian, then the courts will move down to the next person on the list. That priority list generally looks like:
- Older siblings
- Closest adult family member
- Close family friend
- Professional guardian
If a professional guardian is appointed, then the courts will often require the guardian to provide a bond (insurance) in the event that the estate gets mishandled and there are costs accrued.
What does the Guardian Do?
Because a guardian has such comprehensive control over the special needs individual’s life, a guardian position is monitored and supervised by the courts. A guardian makes all financial decisions for the client, and they are also responsible for making decisions regarding the person’s life. Questions about college, jobs, and places to live must all be approved by the guardian.
If the special needs person is self-aware and not someone who desperately needs a guardian, then there are alternatives to a guardianship. The family could coordinate people to help the special needs individual out, and a family member might even offer to take the special needs person in as a tenant. There are also living services your family can contract with that can offer services such as reliable transportation and personal home services.
The Mattar Firm understands the sensitive nature of guardianship issues, and our special needs planning lawyers are ready to put our experience to work for your family. Utilize our legal team as your personal resource when it comes time to consider the long-term well-being of a special needs family member.