What is a full guardian?

girl with down's syndrome

A full guardian is appointed by the court to make most decisions on behalf of an incapacitated adult. These include personal, medical, and residential decisions, as well as financial decisions if a conservator is not appointed for the incapacitated person.

What does a full guardian do?

In many ways, a full guardian has the same powers and responsibilities as a parent of a minor child. A full guardian can make decisions about how an adult spends his/her money, where he/she lives, what activities he/she participates in or doesn’t participate in, and what medical care he/she receives. Unlike a parent, a full guardian does not have to financially provide for the person.

Who might need a full guardian?

Full guardianship may be required when:

  • A person is unable to make or communicate responsible decisions for him or herself due to impairments such as those caused by mental or physical illness or disability or chronic substance abuse;
  • To ensure that continuing care is provided for the incapacitated person; and
  • Friends, clinicians, staff, and family members involved in the decision, have researched and ruled out all of the less restrictive options.

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