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Getting Started
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The Educated Parent
Early Intervention
What To Do First
What is Early Intervention?
Keeping an IEP Notebook
Preparing for an IEP Meeting
Conducting an IEP Meeting
Individuals With Disabilities Act
IDEA ACT - A Quick Reference
IDEA Legal Text
Family Finances
Recommended Resources
Introduction to Universal Housing Design
Housing options
Building a New House ~ That Works!
Introduction to Universal Housing Design
Entrances and Thresholds
Single Family Home Resources
Remodeled Bathroom
Ceiling Lifts
Problem Spaces
Adding a Ramp
Good Restroom
Not So Good Restrooms
Great Space Adaptions
Not So Great Adaptations
Ramp Design
Ramp Design (Part 2)
Commercial Ramps
Public Access Ramps
Adding a Ramp
Retrofit Door Sill Ramp
Medical Bills
Filing an Appeal
Medical Expenses and Income Taxes
Finding Help for the Uninsured or Underinsured
Free or Discounted Prescription Programs
Medicaid Waivers
Legal Adults - Introduction
Guardianship and Declaration of Incapacitation
Establishing Guardianship and Obtaining a Declaration of Incapacitation
Dependency Determination (Military)
When to Start the Transition Process
Begin Transition - Age 14-16
Exploring Possibilities and Guardianship Issues - Age 17
Age 18
After High School Graduation - Age 19-22
Post High School Education Options
Future Housing Options
Specialized Medical Equipment
Wheelchair Evaluation
Wheelchair Safety
Introduction: Special Needs and the Military Family
DEERS & ID Cards
Dependency Determination
TriCare Introduction
TriCare Program Options
Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP)
Individual Case Management
TriCare Extended Care Health Option (ECHO)
Early Intervention
Housing Options
Family Support Services
Community Contacts
Letters of Medical Sufficiency
Wheelchair Accessible Vans
Van Conversion: A good Example
Fund Raising - The Flamingo Air Project
Utah DSPD Complaint List Winter 2011

Establishing Guardianship and Obtaining a Declaration of Incapacitation

To establish a guardianship it is necessary to file a request for "Appointment of a Guardian of an Incapacitated Person" in the District Probate Court in the county in which the individual resides. The court then sets a date for the hearing. The individual with a disability should have their own legal representative whose sole interest is ensuring their rights are protected during this process. This legal council will be present at the hearing, conduct any necessary questioning and receive notice on behalf of the individual.

Detailed documentation will be needed to show that your child is not mentally capable of becoming totally independent.

The family will need to hire two attorneys, one for themselves and one for their child. A judge will review the entire medical and educational evidence needed, hear arguments from your child's attorney as well as your own before making an Incapacitation Declaration. Once the judge is satisfied all legal requirements have been met a Declaration of Incapacitation will be made and signed. The court can then appoint a Guardian(s) at that time.

Full Guardianship over an individual with disabilities is not always necessary. It can also be reduced later as circumstances warrant. A limited guardianship or other legal means of providing informed consent may be more appropriate. This should be discussed at length with your legal council. There are different types of limited guardianship, including medical, habitation and training; residential and financial which may be more appropriate. Most often these are awarded according to the needs and rights of the individual. A full discussion with your legal representative and those familiar with your child's capabilities may assist you in deciding which of the above noted options would be best. Your child's wishes must also be taken into consideration. They should be included in any meetings involving decisions for their future, when appropriate.

There are many misconceptions regarding the responsibilities of Legal Guardianship. It does not mean that you must keep your family member in your home. It does not mean that you take the obligation to support that person financially or become their "forever" caretaker. If the person for whom you seek guardianship has some decision-making abilities, you will not even be granted guardianship over all aspects of that person's life. The child's rights and privileges are not taken away with the guardianship. A guardian is appointed only to "Protect the rights, interests and well being of said person". Guardianship can be changed at ANY time, through appropriate legal channels, should the need arise.

There are many agencies that can help you through the process of Guardianship in most states. See your state directory for the nearest Disability Law Center, Office of Public Guardianship, Or Guardianship and Advocacy Providers.

(Check the RESOURCE LINKS section for Disability Law Offices in your area)

One Last Note Regarding Guardianship.

Be sure to pick up SEVERAL copies of the notarized Guardianship Determination documents BEFORE YOU LEAVE THE COURT HOUSE! Place at least 2 copies in your family safe deposit box and keep a couple of copies in your home file. After the Clerk of the Court files them it is much more costly and time consuming to get new copies issued.

You will need to give copies of these documents to your child's medical care providers, send a notarized original to the Social Security Administration, fax copies to billing companies, show to Emergency Room medical staff, school officials, obtain Military ID cards for disabled dependents, etc. in order to prove you have the authority to assist your child with their legal needs.