Your Adult Child: Establishing Guardianship When They Can No Longer Take Care Of Themself

10 April 2015
 Categories: Law, Blog


Although you raised a healthy child, sometimes there is a need to establish a guardianship over an adult son or daughter of yours. Maybe your child developed serious mental health problems as an adult, or they got into an accident that caused significant disabilities. Being your child's parent is simply not enough when they are eighteen years or older. When you believe they can't take care of their own basic needs, it's time to consider establishing a guardianship.

Work with a Medical Provider to Complete a Medical Certificate

It is up to the court to determine if your child will be assigned a legal guardian, and the first step in the process is to work with a medical provider that can complete the medical certificate for guardianship. Although the certificate is known by different names, depending on the state in which you live, what the form contains is essentially the same throughout the United States. The provider meets with the individual who may need guardianship to establish their competency. The medical provider then outlines the patient's strengths, weaknesses, and their concerns should the patient continue to take care of their own affairs.

If a medical provider determines that your adult child does not need a legal guardian at this time, you will have to work with your child to try and help them without the legal authority to make decisions for them.

When the Medical Provider Believes Your Adult Child Needs a Guardian

If the provider believes your adult child needs a legal guardian, their certificate is sent into the court and you will get a court date to establish the guardianship. Once you are assigned as the legal guardian for your adult child, you now have the ability to handle some or all of their affairs. Depending on whether you have been assigned as the Conservator (to handle their money) or as a Guardian of Person, to handle decision making, or you are both, will determine the level of authority you have to make decisions for your disabled adult child.

With the legal guardianship established, you may have to update the court once a year, where the case will be assessed to see if continued guardianship is still necessary. It is possible that you will have to provide the court a guardianship plan, which outlines how you will handle your adult child's affairs. If you are handling their money, an accounting of how the money is spent may have to be filed. What you need to provide to the court is determined by what state you live in.

For more information, contact a firm such as Burford Law Firm LLC.