August 26, 2020 Guardianship

Working Interdisciplinary Networks of Guardianship Stakeholders (WINGS)

An Innovative and Collaborative Approach to Reform

By Dari Pogach

Adult guardianship is a drastic state intervention that removes most of a person’s fundamental rights; it is the legal process in which a court finds an individual lacks capacity to make his or her own decisions and appoints a guardian to make personal and/or property decisions on behalf of the individual. Approximately one to three million people in the United States have had a guardian appointed due to age related cognitive decline or dementia, disability, traumatic brain injury, and a myriad of other circumstances. These individuals may be among the least prepared litigants to navigate judicial systems. Yet state courts, which bear the sole fiscal and administrative burden for the guardianship process, are often overburdened and lack the necessary resources to ensure these individuals are guaranteed the right to due process during proceedings, and if a guardian is appointed on their behalf, the right to be served by a guardian free from abuse, neglect, and exploitation.

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