Did you know?
When a child with special needs reaches the age of 18, they are legally recognized as an adult in most U.S. states, a transition that can have significant legal implications, especially for those receiving state benefits. This change means that these individuals now have the right to make their own decisions regarding healthcare, finances, and personal affairs. For parents and caregivers, this often necessitates a legal shift in responsibility. To continue making crucial decisions for their child who may not be fully capable of managing their own affairs due to their disability, they need to petition the courts for guardianship. This process, varying in its specifics from state to state, requires demonstrating to a court that the adult child is unable to independently manage their affairs. Guardianship can be full, encompassing all aspects of the individual’s life, or limited to certain areas such as financial or healthcare decisions. Given the profound impact on the rights and autonomy of the individual with disabilities, this decision requires careful consideration, and often, the guidance of legal counsel. Exploring all options, including supported decision-making models, is crucial in ensuring the continued wellbeing and support for these new adults, aligning legal responsibility with their best interests and unique needs.