Does your adult child with special needs need a guardian? (what to consider)

If you have an adult special needs child, here are some important thongs to consider. about guardianships  

Many special needs individuals manage their own financial, healthcare, and life decisions on their own and don't need a legal guardian. A guardianship proceeding is a serious deprivation of an individual's rights and therefore, a guardianship requires the presence of a severe underlying special need or disability that rises to the level of incapacity. Bad-decision-making alone generally does not rise to this level. So when is an individual incapacitated?

  • North Carolina law defines an "incapacitated" individual as, someone "lacking the ability to manage property and business affairs effectively by reason of mental illness, mental deficiency, physical illness or disability, chronic use of drugs, chronic intoxication, confinement, detention by a foreign power, disappearance, being under 21 years of age, or other disabling cause." 

  • If your child's condition is severe enough to block the ability to manage property and business affairs effectively, then a guardianship is needed.  An incapacitating condition can be permanent or temporary. If it is a temporary condition, then the guardianship can also be temporary and an individual's rights can be restored when the condition is successfully treated and removed. 

  • There are different kinds of guardians. A guardian of the person is someone appointed to manage healthcare and life decisions.  A guardian of the estate (sometimes called a conservator) is appointed to manage financial affairs. The guardian of the person and guardian of the estate can be the same individual. A general guardian manages both personal and financial decisions.

There are alternatives available to guardianships. These alternatives include healthcare and financial powers of attorney. 

Every situation is different. If you have an adult special needs child and are considering petitioning for guardianship, consult with an attorney about your situation and the legal implications of a guardianship. Call us at 704-887-5242 or fill out the form below to schedule a private consultation in our Ballantyne office. 

Image: Shutterstock - VGStockstudio

DISCLAIMER: This is an advertisement and contains general educational information only. The information offered in this post does not constitute legal advice and reading the information does not create an attorney-client relationship with Nancy Roberts or the Roberts Law Firm. You should not rely on this article as legal advice. Before taking any action, you should always seek legal advice from an attorney you hire, who advises you based on your specific facts, circumstances, situation, and the appropriate governing law.



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