When a child with special needs turns 18, he or she “officially” becomes an adult with the full ability to make his or her own legally binding decisions. When this new stage of adulthood begins, many parents feel a sense of anxiety and apprehension in making sure that their child is protected and secure in making his or her own decisions. These decisions include medical care, transition planning, finances, driving, and daily living. Thankfully, there are several legal tools, such as Powers of Attorney and Guardianship, which can be used to support and protect your loved one. These tools can each be carefully crafted to be as limited or as broad as your child may need. In discussing the need for supported decision making for your loved one, we will analyze whether Powers of Attorney or Guardianship may be appropriate based on your child’s need for support as well as your child’s need for independence.
Both Powers of Attorney and Guardianship, when used correctly, can provide families with a sense of relief in not only ensuring their child is protected and cared for during the next stage of his or her life, but can also provide families with options to encourage their child’s independence. Powers of Attorney can address one’s property as well as one’s healthcare decisions. Guardianship can encompass all aspects of decision-making for a loved one or can be strictly limited to certain decisions. We will cut through the legalese of these tools and help you understand practically what is best for your child.
The team at Clancy & Associates appreciates the difficulty in balancing the need for protection and support of a loved one along with the desire to provide him or her with autonomy. We recognize that each child or adult with special needs is unique, each family structure is unique, and each circumstance is unique. Let us guide you in choosing the most appropriate strategy for the new adult in your family.