Palm Springs Law Blog

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Considerations for Special Needs Guardianship

One of the most important responsibilities that a parent has is to look out for the safety and wellbeing of his or her children. This is why it is so important to prepare for the guardianship of your child. Guardianship is the legal process that allows an individual who is named to serve as the final decision maker for another person.

But while consideration should be given to whom you wish to assign the position to, special consideration should be given for those who have children with special needs. People with special needs (such as autism) should have a guardian assigned to them prior to age 18, but parents of a child diagnosed with autism can also become their guardian past the age of 18, in a specific legal process. This allows for parents to retain a final say on decisions regarding their child.

Should You Appoint a Guardian for Your Child?

Some parents may feel unsure as to whether they should file for guardianship of their child once they reach the age of 18. They may question the necessity of it because their child continues to develop well and has several abilities, and possibly holds a job.

But while this concern is understandable, the real concern is the intellectual and developmental age of your child. If your child is intellectually and/or developmentally below the age of 18, you should treat him or her as you would someone else that age. Since it’s likely that you would not let a minor child make all decisions on his or her own, it may be a good idea to file for guardianship so that you can help to make education, healthcare, housing, and financial decisions for them.

For those who are torn about the decision, it is important to bear in mind that if your adult child eventually gets to a point where you believe that he or she is capable of making all decisions on his or her own, you have the option as the guardian to petition the court in order to revoke your status as guardian.

Guardianship After Your Death

Additionally, parents who have a child with special needs should make a decision of guardianship for when they pass away. To decide whom you would want to appoint as your child’s guardian after your death, consider the following factors regarding the individual:

  • Personality
  • Demeanor
  • Qualities
  • Age
  • Location
  • Personal/family circumstances
  • Familiarity with your child
  • Experience with individuals who have special needs
  • Financial position
  • Marital status
  • Relationship with other loved ones
  • Profession/work schedule

Weighing the aforementioned factors can help you to figure out who would be best suited as your child’s appointed guardian.

Heritage Legal, PC Helps Those in California to Establish Guardianships

It can be difficult to make certain decisions regarding your children, but establishing an appointed guardian for your child is extremely important. It helps to protect your child and your wishes, and also takes away various unfavorable situations, such as the court appointing a guardian, should you not provide one.

This is why it is in the best interest of you, your child, and your loved ones to consult with a knowledgeable and experienced California Estate Planning Attorney.

At Heritage Legal, PC, we understand the importance of protecting those whom you care about most and helping to ease the burden on your family. We can help you to establish a guardianship that meets all needs. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, contact us today!

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