A guardianship is a court-ordered protective arrangement whereby someone is appointed to make decisions for an incapacitated person.
A guardian of the estate makes decisions for the well-being and care of an incapacitated person, such as medical decisions and decisions relating to the incapacitated person’s living arrangements. The guardian of the estate makes decisions regarding the incapacitated person’s assets and income.
A guardianship is a appropriate only if a person cannot make decisions for themselves. A guardianship can be limited to only those matters an incapacitated person is unable to manage. A person may have cognitive decline from dementia or a disability and still have the ability to make decisions for him or herself and govern his or her own affairs.
A guardianship may be necessary for a person whose decision-making capacity has declined to the point that the person is unable to make decisions for him or herself.
The parent of a developmentally disabled child who is unable to make decisions for him or herself does not have authority to make decisions for their child once the child turns eighteen. In these circumstances, a guardianship is necessary for the parent to maintain decision-making authority after the age of eighteen.