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Considerations for special needs guardianships

Residents in Pennsylvania who have children with disabilities or other types of special needs know that they may need to take extra steps to provide appropriate care for their loved ones. These extra steps do not just involve focusing on the years after the parents have died but may need to begin as soon as the child turns 18 and becomes a legal adult.

Special needs or not, a person who is 18 years old is deemed to be solely responsible for his or her own decisions unless other legal arrangements have been made. A guardianship through the Orphans' Court is one type of arrangement that may allow another person to take care of or assist a person with special needs. On the other hand, Powers of Attorney may be enough.

As explained by Parenting Special Needs, there may be a variety of ways that a guardianship for a disabled child can be established. Every guardianship does not need to strip the child of his or her full rights. Instead, it is important to balance the need to protect and care for their child with the need to preserve their rights. Some disabled persons are perfectly capable of managing some aspects of their lives. Limited guardianships, for example, might allow a parent or other person to manage the finances for a special needs person but still allow that individual to make medical decisions independently.

When parents are considering the future for a special needs child, it is important to include a plan in their Wills for their children during minority after the parents have died as well as to express preferences for guardians once their children are legally adults. Special Needs Answers emphasize how important it is to have open and frank conversations with potential guardians. It is also wise to identify backup guardians. Our law firm can help with these discussions and these plans for your special needs loved ones.

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