Blogs :: Deciding on Guardianship or Alternatives to Guardianship

The decision on whether to choose Guardianship or Alternatives to Guardianship can become clearer once you understand the pros and cons of each. Both options can be changed later in life if the loved one improves where Guardianship or Alternatives to Guardianship are not needed any longer. While only Guardians can change the Guardianship, it is the individual who can revoke the Alternatives to Guardianship.

You know your child best. There are pros and cons to both Guardianship and Alternatives to Guardianship. With Guardianship, you can protect vulnerable people from being taken advantage of and you can assist them with major decisions they would likely be unable to make on their own. Remember that Guardianship can be full or partial so all the Ward’s rights do not have to be terminated. Guardianship is the most restrictive action you can take to protect someone who truly may need that assistance.

Alternatives to Guardianship are less restrictive ways to assist a person and are suitable for those individuals who simply need assistance with the more difficult decisions that need to be made. Should a person be able to decide medical or financial decisions on their own, live independently, drive a car and vote, Alternatives to Guardianship may be appropriate. It is important to note that most of these documents require the individual’s signature. The individual signing these documents must have the capacity to understand what rights the documents are giving to their representative. Those with intellectual disabilities may lack proper understanding to sign these documents.

Scenario from Case Files: Was this the right choice?
We had the opportunity to speak with a mother of two children with severe mental and physical disabilities after the children had turned 18. The mother was consulting with us on another matter and had already established Powers of Attorneys for her children. When she described the severity of her children’s progressive, degenerative conditions, it became clear that Guardianship would have been the better choice as her children were both physically and mentally disabled. In order to sign the Power of Attorney, each child would have to understand what they are signing which neither child had the capacity to do.

Scenario from Case Files: What happened when their child got angry
The parents of a 19-year old son wanted to give their child as much freedom to make his own decisions as possible, so they opted for a Power of Attorney. He would continue to live at home for the foreseeable future. Their son had anxiety and Bipolar Disorder and was prone to extreme mood swings. After having a disagreement with his parents over his lack of motivation to get a job or help around the house, the young man erupted and declared he wanted to terminate the Power of Attorney. In the State of Texas, a person under a Power of Attorney can revoke it at any time and for any reason if noted to the proper people or facilities.

We have personal experience with the Guardianship process as we had the same decision to make for our own daughter. To learn more about the most appropriate options for your family member, contact Boyd Handley for a compassionate review of your personal situation. 281.703.3616 or

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