Why You Need Guardianship When Your Neurodivergent Child or Child with Disabilities Turns 18

Neurodivergent child turns 18

As your neurodivergent child or child with disabilities approaches the age of 18, you may be faced with an important decision: whether to pursue guardianship. While it’s natural to want to protect and care for your child, guardianship becomes crucial once they reach adulthood, especially if they are unable to make decisions or manage their affairs independently. Attorney Eric Schutzbank’s experience in guardianship and conservatorship matters enables him to understand the importance of this critical decision for families in Massachusetts. In this article, we’ll delve into why guardianship is essential for neurodivergent individuals and those with disabilities once they turn 18 and provide insights into the process.

Understanding Guardianship in Massachusetts

In Massachusetts, guardianship is a legal process that grants an individual the authority to make medical and personal decisions on behalf of someone who is incapacitated or unable to make decisions independently. This includes decisions related to healthcare, finances, living arrangements, and other important aspects of life. Without guardianship, parents or caregivers may encounter challenges in advocating for their legally incapacitated child’s needs once they reach adulthood.

Transitioning to Adulthood

Consider a scenario where a young adult with developmental disabilities is about to turn 18. Throughout their childhood, their parents have provided care and made decisions on their behalf. However, as they approach adulthood, it becomes apparent that the individual lacks the capacity to make informed decisions independently. Without guardianship, the parents will encounter difficulties accessing medical records, making healthcare decisions, or managing their child’s finances and benefits. By pursuing guardianship, the parents can continue to advocate for their child’s needs and ensure their well-being as they transition to adulthood.

Ensuring Continued Care and Support

Guardianship provides peace of mind for parents and caregivers by ensuring that their child in need of services receives the care and support they need after turning 18. With guardianship in place, parents can make decisions in the best interests of their child, including medical treatment, therapy, education, and housing arrangements. This allows for continuity of care and support, even as the child becomes an adult. It is important to determine if your child with disabilities or neurodivergent child needs assistance managing their money. Guardians in Massachusetts are limited to handling assets or income of less than $5,000.00. To manage funds greater than this amount, a separate Conservator Petition may be necessary.

Protecting Against Exploitation and Abuse

Unfortunately, neurodivergent and disabled individuals are often vulnerable to exploitation, abuse, and financial scams. Without guardianship, they may be at greater risk of falling victim to undue influence or manipulation by others. By appointing a guardian, families can safeguard their disabled child’s interests and protect them from exploitation or abuse.

Navigating the Guardianship Process

The process of obtaining guardianship in Massachusetts involves filing a petition with the Probate & Family Court, providing evidence of the individual’s incapacity, and obtaining approval from the court. There are also annual reporting It’s essential to consult with an experienced guardianship attorney who can guide you through the legal process, advocate for your child’s best interests, and ensure that all necessary steps are taken to secure guardianship.

Contact Us Today

If you’re considering guardianship for your disabled or neurodivergent child as they approach adulthood, don’t hesitate to contact Attorney Eric Schutzbank. Attorney Schutzbank provides compassionate guidance and expert legal representation throughout the guardianship process. He understands the unique challenges faced by families in Massachusetts, and he is committed to helping you protect your loved one’s rights and well-being.

Schedule a consultation with Attorney Schutzbank today to learn more about how he can assist you with guardianship and conservatorship matters.

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