GUARDIANSHIP 201

So let’s talk about what happens after you have gotten a guardianship of the person of your young adult child. What does that really mean in terms of powers you have over him or her? To make sure of your powers, first, you should look at the Order the Judge signed at your court date. This is the documents that spells out the guardian's powers and authority. Older orders, prior to 2015, generally had much broader and more general language about what powers the guardian has ("full authority") and what rights the ward has lost or have been removed. Today’s orders by contrast go into great detail regarding what powers over the person of the ward the guardian has. A typical order might give the guardian authority to do a laundry list of things, including to: (i) take charge and control of the person of the Ward, including determining where the ward will live; (ii) apply for an identification card or social security card for the Ward; (iii) make employment decisions for the benefit of the Ward; (iv) enter into and terminate contracts on behalf of the Ward; (v) apply for and consent to services or cash benefits such as Medicaid waivers and SSI; (vi) arrange for psychological, psychiatric, medical, or dental examinations, or treatments, and (vii) freeze the ward’s credit rating with any of the credit rating providers. This long list abbreviated for purposes of this discussion and only covers half of the powers and authority granted to guardians in the newer long form orders. This is much more helpful in terms of guidance to guardians than was previously commonly seen. The legislature and most communities have become more concerned with preservation pf rights and maximum independence and self-determination of persons who are subject to a guardianship. Next issue we will discuss the Ward’s Bill of Rights which remain in place subject to any limitations in the court order. These rights were adopted by the Legislature in its 2015 session and gives as much autonomy and opportunity for self-determination of the ward as is possible within the ward's safety parameters.