Understanding the process of applying for legal guardianship for adults with disabilities in California can be complex. Guardianship grants legal authority to make decisions for an adult who cannot make those decisions themselves. This includes managing their day-to-day needs and ensuring their well-being. In California, legal guardians are appointed by the court, and they receive specific responsibilities and decision-making powers. Often, adults with disabilities are appointed a guardian after they turn 18.

The powers granted to a legal guardian can vary. Depending on the court’s decision, a guardian might have authority over medical decisions, financial matters, or both. For disabled adults, guardians typically handle arranging care, vocational training, and other necessary daily decisions. Medical decision-making is also commonly assigned to guardians of disabled adults.

To initiate guardianship, it must first be established that the adult is incapacitated. The court appoints an attorney to represent the interests of the potentially disabled adult. If the court finds the individual unable to make and understand their own decisions, the process to appoint a guardian moves forward. Anyone who qualifies can petition the court for guardianship, but the court usually favors appointing someone who has a close relationship with the adult, such as a parent or adult sibling.

Key considerations when choosing a guardian for an adult with special needs include:

  • The potential guardian’s ability to act in the best interests of the ward.
  • The willingness and capability of the individual to serve as a guardian.
  • The need for a successor guardian, which can be nominated in your will, although the court ultimately decides the appointment based on the adult’s best interest.

It’s essential to consult with legal counsel when considering guardianship to understand all available options, such as:

  • Limited Conservatorship
  • Supported Decision Making
  • Power of Attorney
  • Plenary Guardian

Each type of guardianship suits different needs and levels of required support. For instance, a plenary guardianship, which grants complete authority over the ward, might be excessively restrictive depending on the circumstances.

Finally, the role of the court in California is to determine the necessity and appropriateness of the guardianship. If you decide to pursue guardianship, your attorney can assist you in presenting your case to the court, which will then make the final determination on whether guardianship is warranted and, if so, what type should be granted. This ensures that the adult with disabilities receives the proper level of support and protection.

Start the Steps of Legal Guardianship

In summary, understanding and navigating the process of obtaining legal guardianship for adults with disabilities in California involves several important steps. Guardianship is a significant legal responsibility that enables an appointed individual to make essential decisions for an adult who cannot do so independently, focusing on their care and well-being. It’s crucial to assess the type and extent of authority needed, based on the specific needs of the adult in question. The court plays a vital role in appointing guardians and must confirm the incapacity of the individual and the suitability of the proposed guardian.

If you’re considering pursuing legal guardianship for an adult with special needs, it’s important to consult with a qualified attorney who specializes in disability and guardianship law. Legal counsel will guide you through the complex legal landscape, help determine the most appropriate type of guardianship, and support you in preparing and presenting your case to the court. To ensure that you make informed decisions that best support the needs and rights of your loved one, contact a specialized attorney today to discuss your options and begin the guardianship process. The first step to acquiring legal guardianship is finding counsel. If you’re looking for an expert to help you with this, schedule a free consultation with The Legacy Lawyers. You can give us a call at 800-840-1998.