Guardianship is particularly important to protect a child with developmental disabilities, mental illness, or other diminished capacities. At age 18, a child is considered a legal adult regardless of if they are developmentally disabled or have a mental illness. At age 18, parents no longer have the right to make legal decisions for their children. If you want or need to retain authority to continue to make decisions for your child, you will need to become a guardian. Guardianship is appointed by a court when proof is provided that the child cannot handle his own affairs.
If a court finds that a person (referred to as the “ward”) is incapable of making responsible decisions, they will grant guardianship to a responsible adult. Guardians can be family, or someone with a connection such as a social worker, or lawyer, although courts typically prefer to grant guardianship to close family members.