When children with disabilities turn 18 it is automatically assumed that they are legally competent to make decisions for themselves. As a parent you may know that this is not true in specific incidences, such as with money management, grocery shopping, cooking, and making medical decisions.
What is Guardianship?
Guardianship allows a parent to continue making decisions that they made prior to their child’s 18th birthday.
Two Types of Guardianship
Article 17A covers most decisions that parents make and is granted by county Surrogate Courts. Article 81 specifies what decisions are made by the guardian and is granted by the county Supreme Court; it requires an attorney.
Who Needs A Guardian?
A person whose mental capacity (i.e. decision-making) is such that he/she has difficulty communicating basic wants and needs.
Why Would Someone Need a Guardian?
In order to make complex decisions requiring judgement or recall (e.g. taking medications or consenting to a medical procedure.)
When Should Someone Seek Guardianship?
It is recommended that families begin the guardianship process six(6) months prior to the child’s 18th birthday.
If you would like more information regarding guardianship for your child with a disability, please contact Dorothy Richards, RCAL Special Education Advocate, at (845) 331-0541, ext. 18.