Before proceeding with a guardianship, legal professionals strongly suggest that you consider other options first. There are other ways to allow someone to make decisions on behalf of another that are not as restrictive for the ward as a guardianship.
"Supported decision-making" is an alternative to guardianship that allows someone with a disability to make decisions about their own life with the assistance of a trusted person. The trusted person, known as a "supporter" in this relationship, is usually a friend or family member who guides the person through the process of making a decision by helping them gather information and weigh alternatives. The power to make the decision remains in the hands of the person with a disability. It is known as an "informal" alternative because the relationship does not have to be established by a court.
A durable power of attorney is a legal document that appoints someone (known as the agent) to make decisions on someone's behalf (known as the principal) in the event of their disability or incapacitation. It differs from a general power of attorney in that those automatically terminate when the principal becomes incapacitated. A durable power of attorney can be one that continues after the principal is incapacitated or one that only takes effect once the principal is incapacitated.
A durable power of attorney is much less restrictive than a guardianship as it allows the principal to name certain actions that the agent is authorized to take on their behalf.
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