Understanding Guardianship Issues: An Overview for Rehabilitation Professionals
BASICS OF GUARDIANSHIPS Given the frequency individuals with neuropsychological disabilities are appointed guardians, it is imperative that rehabilitation professionals be aware of the different types of guardianships available and alternatives to guardianship. It is also critical that the professional be knowledgeable regarding the individual’s rights that may be impacted by guardianship, the responsibilities of the guardian, and recommendations that can be made to families who may pursue guardianship for a family member. Data indicate that over the 10-year period from 1990 to 1999, the number of court lings seeking guardianship for individuals has generally increased (Schaufer, LaFountain, Kauder, & Strickland, 2005). Although data for all states was not available in this report, statistics indicated that in 41 states (including the District of Columbia), there were a total of 277,472 guardianship lings in 1999 alone. Given how frequently guardianship proceedings occur, having a basic understanding of guardianship issues and the process to obtain that guardianship is essential for rehabilitation professionals.