Debunking 5 Common Myths About Adult Guardianship
Adult guardianship is the process by which another person is given the right to make decisions for an individual who has been determined to be incapacitated and unable to make their own decisions. Once a guardian has been appointed, guardianship generally lasts until the individual under guardianship/ward either dies or has their right to make decisions reinstated. In Florida, and the U.S. at large, there are many myths about guardianship. It is crucial that people understand these myths and know what the truth is, as well as what a potential guardian can, and can’t, do. This article debunks five of the most common myths about adult guardianship.
Myth #1: Guardianship Cannot Be Avoided
False: The truth is that guardianship can be avoided. It is vital to note that you do not need to go with the option of guardianship. Keep in mind that courts only appoint guardians in cases where there are no less restrictive alternatives available. This is mainly because guardianship usually takes away or limits a person’s rights and freedom.
Myth #2: An Individual Living with Alzheimer’s Disease or Any Other Cognitive Impairment Needs a Guardian
False: Just because someone has Alzheimer’s disease, or another cognitive impairment, does not automatically mean that they need a guardian. If support is available, and an individual is not resisting help, they may not need a guardian. Several other options could be considered, depending on an individual’s abilities to express their wishes and preferences. For example, a health care agent could be appointed to ensure necessary services are received.
Myth #3: Courts Always Choose a Close Family Relative to Serve as Guardian
False: This is one of the most common myths out there about guardianship, but the truth is that courts do not always choose a close family relative to severe as a guardian. Indeed, close family relatives are always preferred, but when the Court makes the final decision, close relatives do not always get preference. If, for example, there are conflicts among relatives close to an incapacitated individual, the court might prefer to appoint a more distant relative or another person as guardian.
Myth #4: If a Parent Was Appointed the Guardian Over Their Minor Child with a Disability, They Remain the Guardian Even After the Child Becomes an Adult
False: Usually, a guardianship over a minor child ends when the child grows up and becomes an adult. Therefore, a parent appointed to be the guardian over their minor child with a disability does not automatically remain the guardian after the child becomes an adult. Guardianship over an adult requires a person to go to court and get a court order.
Myth #5: A Vulnerable Adult Who Has Been Exploited or Abused Needs a Guardian
False: Depending on the situation, appointing a guardian might not be the best course of action for protection against exploitation or abuse. Depending on the circumstances involved, there may be many other options available. In cases of abuse or exploitation, it is crucial to consider the risks involved and protections that can be implemented to prevent any more abuse or exploitation.
Contact a Fort Lauderdale Guardianship Attorney
For more information on guardianship, contact the experienced Fort Lauderdale guardianship attorneys at the law offices of Joyce A. Julian, P.A.