When your child is under 18, you are responsible for meeting these needs. When they are not yet an adult, you are able to manage their finances, attend all medical appointments, and make decisions for your child. However, if you are the parent of an adult who is struggling to take care of their own basic needs, it may be necessary to file for a legal guardianship.
Reasons Some Parents Need Guardianship of Their Adult Children
Just because a young adult is making bad decisions, does not mean it is time to file for a guardianship. Your young adult must have trouble caring for their basic needs in a way that is substantive. If your child has special needs, and has needed significant, additional care because of their disability, then a guardianship should be filed. If the person is capable of sound judgement, can advocate for their own wishes and desires, give informed consent and understands the consequences to their decisions, they may not need a legal guardian. It all depends on the person's ability to think problems through and understand the ramifications of their decisions.
Why Guardianship is Necessary
Many parents wonder why they have to file for guardianship of their disabled child once they turn 18. The answer is simple. Every person, once they turn 18, is deemed an adult, responsible for their own decision making. They are able to enter legally binding contracts and make any decisions regarding their finances, medical care and living situation.
The Difference Between Guardianship and Conservatorship
Your adult child may not need a full guardianship, where you make all of their legally binding decisions for them. If they are simply having trouble managing their money and paying their bills, you may file to be their conservator instead. A conservator has the responsibility to manage the finances of the individual for which they are the conservator. They pay their bills, help manage finances, and invest any potential money that is left over. They are responsible for filing an accounting each year with the court, which will show that they are acting in the best interests of the individual.
If you believe that you need to be the guardian or conservator for a child about to reach adult age, it is time to sit down with a professional attorney, like those at the Burford Law Firm LLC, and have them help you through the process.