Alternatives to Full Guardianship

What do you need to know?

There are other ways besides full guardianship to provide support to an individual and to establish substitute decision-making in certain areas, like health care and finance.

Alternatives to full guardianship include legal documents (such as Power of Attorney or a Living Will), community services (such as Meals on Wheels or Homemakers), and government programs. All of these may delay or prevent the appointment of full guardians for individuals who are not able to make decisions on their behalf.

Alternatives to full guardianship may allow individuals to hold on to some or all of their rights.

It is important that everyone involved in the decision-making process learn about an individual's options before deciding to pursue full guardianship.

Each alternative to full guardianship has advantages and disadvantages.

Choosing an alternative to full guardianship does not mean that you cannot be involved in making decisions about your loved one's care

Learning about alternatives to full guardianship may take effort on your part, but these alternatives may allow your loved ones to keep more of their legal rights and stay involved in decisions about their lives.

A Limited Guardianship

A Limited Guardianship may be necessary if other alternatives are not available. In this case, the court will make an order that gives the guardian power to make decisions in a certain area of an individual's life (such as money management or major health care decisions). The individual will keep the right to make all other life decisions.

Limited guardianship is preferable to full guardianship because it encourages maximum independence for individuals. The court will not always offer limited guardianship as an option. It is okay and appropriate for the petitioner to ask for a limited guardianship as a less restrictive alternative to full guardianship.

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