Understanding Guardianships for a Special Needs Child

In the eyes of the law, every child becomes an adult on their 18th birthday. This milestone can cause anxiety for many parents, especially the parents of special needs children. Up until their 18th birthday, parents (as the legal guardians of their children) have the legal authority to make medical and financial decisions for their children. This means that most providers of services, including physicians, dentists, and school personnel, accept the authority and input of the parent in matters of the minor child. This all ends the minute the child turns 18 years of age. If a parent of a special needs child thinks the child does not have the decision-making capacity to be on their own, they can seek guardianship over the child. This will continue the legal guardian status of the parent. Not every child with special needs requires a guardian. If the child is able to make sound decisions, then he or she may not need a guardian at all. There are also situations where a limited guardianship (as opposed to a full guardianship) is appropriate. This would allow the child to have some rights but not all rights. Navigating the guardianship process for a special needs child that is approaching 18 can be daunting. The attorneys at Hurley Elder Care Law are ready to help you review the options and then apply for guardianship when appropriate. A consultation can be scheduled by calling (404) 843-0121 or emailing info@hurleyeclaw.com .