DO I NEED A GUARDIAN FOR MY FAMILY MEMBER WHO HAS DOWN SYNDROME?
One of the critical issues facing parents, siblings or other concerned family members of an adult who has Down syndrome is how to best assist and protect him or her when it comes to making legal, financial and medical decisions. Just because an individual has Down syndrome does not mean that he or she lacks the mental capacity to make and communicate appropriate decisions.
There are several alternatives to guardianship which can be considered. The individual may have sufficient mental capacity to adequately make decisions and protect himself. If so, then he or she should consider signing Durable Powers of Attorney, so someone can step in and assist if the mental capacity is ever lost. This is no different than for any other adult.
However, if a person does not have sufficient mental capacity to be able to make and communicate appropriate decisions such that he or she may be taken advantage of or not be able to manage his or her affairs, then guardianship should be considered. This is a court proceeding where it must be proven that the person lacks sufficient mental capacity and needs the appointment of a guardian to make personal decisions (such as medical and housing) and a conservator if there are sufficient assets to manage.
Two attorneys here in the Tampa Bay area can help:
Laurie O'hall, P.A. - In Hillsborough, Laurie O'hall is the expert when it comes to Guardianships and conducts free workshops. Click the link to read more https://ohalllaw.com/free-guardian-advocacy-workshops/
Hitchcock Law Group - In Pinellas, Steven and Aubrey Hitchcock will be able to help you. https://www.hitchcocklawyer.com/