As any concerned parent, you are worried about what is going to happen to your kid once he/age gets eighteen. Most parents worry that their kids may leave home, not continue education, may not get a job, and/or may get into legal trouble. But, as a parent of a mentally disabled child that is reaching the age of eighteen, your concern is how am I going to take care of my daughter or son? Will the school let my son continue with education? Will the doctor continue treating my daughter knowing she may be incapable to consent?
If you have any of these concerns, you have options.
- Guardianship: Guardianship is typically over a child or an individual that has become incapacitated due to a disability or age. A parent is considered an automatic guardian over his/her child. A guardianship by the Courts is not necessary. It’s when the child becomes a legal adult at the age of eighteen (18) is when guardianship is necessary. A Court in power has to give you the authority to be a guardian over another person, even your own son or daughter. Guardianship comes in two forms – over the person, and/or the estate. A parent or applicant has to file an application with the Court. The application requires the applicant to take the proposed disable person to a doctor that will provide a certified medical examination report which will be submitted to the Court. The Court will appoint an attorney ad litem that will represent the proposed disabled person’s rights. The Court will then evaluate everyone’s position and decide if guardianship is suitable in a particular matter or not.
- Medical and/or Durable Power of Attorney: If your adult child is physically disabled but otherwise able to provide legal consent, the Court may not grant guardianship. But to make things easier on yourself or your adult child, the adult child may sign a medical power of attorney to allow you to make a decision about his/her medical treatment. Same for durable power of attorney. If your adult child is able to legally consent, he/she may grant you the power to handle his/her legal, monetary, and physical affairs via a durable power of attorney.
If you have a mentally or physically disabled son or daughter nearing the age of 18 and you would like to discuss the options available in-depth, please contact an experienced lawyer, like an estate planning lawyer in Arlington TX, today.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Brandy Austin Law Firm PLLC for their insight into estate planning.