Taking care of a loved one with special needs can be difficult at the best of times, but it can be even more difficult if you do not have the legal tools in place to handle their personal needs. Fortunately, you can obtain a special needs guardianship for your loved one to ensure they will be appropriately taken care of. But what is a special needs guardianship, and why might you need one?

What is a Special Needs Guardianship?

Put simply, a special needs guardianship is a type of legal relationship put into place by a court to help protect the interests of someone with a chronic mental, physical, or developmental disability. Like other guardianships, it places someone (known as a guardian) in charge of the person with special needs (known as a ward), who then has the legal responsibility to care for them. In order to carry out this duty, the guardian is granted the authority to make legal, financial, and/or medical decisions on their behalf.

What Are the Benefits of a Special Needs Guardianship?

The primary benefits of a special needs guardianship are that they allow you to handle a ward’s personal affairs without needing them to get personally involved. This means they do not need to worry about things like paying their bills, filling out forms, or anything else that might be too difficult for them to handle on their own. That way, they can focus on their own needs, while you can be assured that their welfare is in the hands of someone trustworthy.

Why Might You Need a Special Needs Guardianship?

A special needs guardianship can be essential for anyone with a loved one with a chronic disability, particularly those who were born with their condition. It ensures that they will be cared for through their entire lives, and puts a legal structure into place to handle the things they cannot handle themselves. Because it is managed by the court, you can also be sure that your loved one’s guardian will be held to account for any negligence or wrongdoing.

What Should You Do?

If you have a loved one with a chronic disability, you should consider getting a special needs guardianship for them. That way, you can make sure their needs will be taken care of, even if you are no longer there to be there for them. However, to know what may work best for you and your family, you should speak to a lawyer with experience handling estate planning and other estate law matters.
The elder law attorneys at David J. Lorber & Associates, PLLC will work with you to determine whether a guardianship might be necessary for your loved one, and help you to get a guardianship that will suit your needs. For comprehensive guardianship and elder law services in New York, call David J. Lorber & Associates, PLLC at (631) 750-0900 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation at our Setauket office.

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