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Guardianship for Disabled Adults
When an adult has been considered legally disabled by the probate court in a guardianship proceeding, the judge will appoint a guardian to act on behalf of the disabled individual. The probate court may require a guardian to take responsibility for a disabled adult’s financial decisions, healthcare decisions or both. A guardian for the disabled adult may be a spouse, son, daughter, relative or friend, but quite often an unrelated person is appointed as a guardian.
Guardianship proceedings can be very costly, time consuming and emotionally draining especially since guardianship for an adult may last several decades. They require periodic accountings to the guardianship court and frequently result in litigation.
Guardianship for a disabled adult can be avoided or greatly minimized through the use of a living trust, power of attorney for health care, and a power of attorney for property. These documents will allow an adult to name an agent or trustee to act on a disabled individual’s behalf.