Types of Guardianship

Care Guardians can assist with different types of guardianships:

Person Guardianship

Person guardianship is for people who are unable to make or communicate personal care decisions, particularly informed medical consent or decisions about independent living.

Specific duties of the guardian depend on court order but may include:

  • Custody of the person with disabilities and, if applicable, the person’s minor and adult-dependent children
  • Coordination and/or provision of support, care, comfort, health, and education
  • Residential placement
  • Provision of “informed consent” to healthcare providers and consent to release of medical information
  • Medical decision making
  • Orders of protection to stop or prevent abuse

Estate Guardianship

A court uses estate guardianship when a disabled person cannot make or communicate responsible decisions regarding his or her finances and/or estate.

Specific duties of the guardian depend on court order but may include:

  • Disbursement of funds and estate, including payment of bills
  • Representation in legal proceedings
  • Applications for public and private benefits, pensions, and insurance
  • Orders of protection to stop or prevent financial exploitation

The type of guardianship appropriate for someone with a disability depends on that person’s specific mental, physical, and adaptive limitations.

Limited or Plenary Guardianship

In addition to the type of guardianship, the court determines the extent of the guardian’s authority.

Depending on the ward’s decision-making ability, the court can appoint a limited guardian or plenary guardian.

A limited guardian has the power to make only those decisions about personal care and/or personal finances that the court specifies.

In a plenary guardianship, the guardian generally has the power to make all decisions about personal care and/or finances for the disabled person.

Care Guardians can serve in either capacity for a ward.

Temporary Guardianship

Care Guardians can also assist with temporary guardianship.  A temporary guardian may be appointed by the court for the period between when the guardianship petition is filed and the conclusion of the court hearing during which the need for guardianship is decided. Temporary guardianship lasts no longer than 60 days and is intended to ensure the disabled person receives immediate protection. It is a short-term remedy and is only used for situations where a demonstrated harm or emergency exists.