Through these services, The Arc can help ensure that adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities have someone to advocate for them and act on their behalf in their best interest, without removing the person’s civil or legal rights.
Under New York State law, parents of persons with intellectual and other developmental disabilities are considered the natural guardians of the child until the child turns 18 years of age. After the individual turns 18, the state assumes the individual to be a legally competent adult capable of managing his/her own affairs.
Guardianship is a planning alternative that ensures parents, relatives, or appointed persons as advocates with legal authority. Guardianship allows for maximization of all necessary and available supports and resources for the individual who may need some level of assistance in administering personal and/or financial matters. Legal guardianship cannot be specified or granted in a will. More about guardianship.
Persons over the age of 18 who do not possess the cognitive, communicative, or educational capability to make decisions independently or to give informed consent for personal, medical, and/or financial matters.
Guardians are usually immediate family members, other relatives, or friends. Article 17-A allows not-for-profit organizations such as NYSARC, Inc. to be a guardian for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities as well.
A Guardian can manage personal, medical, and financial matters for an individual with intellectual and/or other developmental disabilities. The guardian protects and assists the individual in managing these matters and in providing care and custody. The Guardian is responsible for any or all of the individual’s financial resources and property.
Powers are limited to acting only in property matters and other assets. The Guardian is required by law to provide an annual account of all activity.
A standby guardian may be appointed in the event that the primary guardian can no longer serve. The standby guardian is allowed to carry out the guardian duties immediately, subject to court confirmation within 60 days of the primary guardian’s death, incapacity, or renunciation.
A standby guardian may be appointed in the event that the primary guardian can no longer serve as guardian. The standby guardian is allowed to carry out the guardian duties immediately, subject to court confirmation within 60 days of the primary guardian’s death, incapacity or renunciation. An alternate standby guardian can also be appointed in case the standby guardian becomes incapable or unable to serve as guardian.
A person who may otherwise need a guardian may be served by these alternatives:
- Representative Payee
- Advance Medical Directive – Health Care Proxy – Living Will
- Personal Caregiver
- Power of Attorney
Parents and family members of people with developmental disabilities often worry about what will happen to their loved ones when they’re gone. Planning for the future can make the process easier. Below are tools to use and ideas to consider when making decisions about future care:
- Future Care Planning: A Roadmap for Family Caregivers
- Caring Conversations: Making Your Wishes Known for End-of-Life Care
- 5-Wishes, Advance Planning for Medical Care and End-of-Life Decisions