January 15, 2020 Feature

My Child Is an Adult—Now What? Guardianship, Powers of Attorney, and Other Options

Sheila O. Zakre

Most children, with or without disabilities, continue to need parental assistance when they turn eighteen. Many parents are surprised or concerned to learn that their ability to make decisions regarding education, finances, medical care, or anything else are rights that now belong exclusively to their adult disabled child. Frequently, the parent pursues guardianship without knowing about alternatives. Other times, a parent calls because they “need” a power of attorney, having no idea that it is the child who has to agree to give the agent authority. This brief overview addresses what attorneys may consider when advising a client about guardianship and less restrictive alternatives.

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