Miami Legal Tips Blog

The Complications of Being Granted Legal Guardianship for an Adult with Special Needs

wheelchair-538978_1280In Florida, there are certain situations in which adult can be assigned a guardian to ensure their interests are represented. When parents have a special needs adult, they may need to ensure they have legal guardianship over that child. Even when the child has a full-time job, lives separately in an assisted living facility, they may need someone who can legally make medical decisions, get information from the doctor, etc. Florida law recognizes 18 as the age of independence but this may not work for some adult children.

If you’re worried that your special needs adult child needs additional support then you’ll have three main factors to consider.

There are different types of guardianship

The role of guardianship covers a lot of bases. That’s why the position can be – and perhaps should be – divided up between two or more individuals. For example, someone may take on the position of guardianship over health care, food, shelter, or clothing, while another person takes over guardianship of the person’s money, benefits, income, financial matters, and assets.

There are alternatives to guardianship

In many cases, an adult child may not like the idea of having a guardian. They may feel like they’re losing their hard-earned independence. This is especially true of a high-functioning adult with special needs, who doesn’t need a guardian to take care of a full range of services. If this is the case your family is in, then there may be options. For example, Gilbert & Smallman can set up a power of attorney. This allows the adult child to decide which family member (or members) can make financial decisions for them, but they still maintain their rights.

Guardians have many duties

In most cases, a legal guardian will be responsible for tasks that the ward isn’t able to do on their own. This will include the things mentioned above, like medical, financial, and residential responsibilities, but it also includes ensuring that the ward continues receiving education. They must also continue a relationship with the courts to always keep them in the loop about progress.

If you’re considering taking over legal guardianship of your adult special needs child, then you need a family law attorney with the experience to handle this case correctly. At Gilbert & Smallman, you can count on us to be compassionate, discreet, and professional at all times. Call us today for your free consultation.


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