Blogs :: Should You Choose Guardianship or Have Your Young Adult with Special Needs Sign an MPOA, POA, HIPAA

We're often asked the question about Guardianship versus Medical Power of Attorney, Power of Attorney and HIPAA documents. In many cases, the answer is clearer when you consider the issue of capacity.

While choosing Medical Powers of Attorney, Power of Attorney and HIPAA documents may seem like the easier choice and this is less costly than obtaining Guardianship, it may not be the best decision. Signing Medical Power of Attorney, Power of Attorney and HIPAA documents assume a certain level of capacity or understanding. A question you can ask yourself is does your adult child fully understand what he or she is signing? A legal document is often complex and poses questions that may be difficult for a young adult with Special Needs to comprehend. Even if he or she can read the question, truly understanding the meaning of the question may be beyond the young adult's level.

It's important to consider the spirit of these documents when deciding whether these documents or Full or Limited Guardianship is the better alternative for your child. The main reason for Guardianship is to protect your child from those wanting to take advantage of someone who may be too trusting. It is also to make decisions that they may not be equipped to make. A young adult with Special Needs who does not understand the language in the Medical Power of Attorney, Power of Attorney and HIPAA documents truly does not have the understanding to make medical, business or financial decisions.

One issue to consider is the possible liability associated with someone who does not understand what they are signing which can lead to court proceedings. This may happen when a friend or third party reports that you may not be looking after the young person's assets properly and also mentions that the individual does not have the capacity to understand the documents that they signed.

Another important consideration is that MPOAs, POA and HIPPA documents can be revoked by your young person whereas Guardianship, while not permanent, cannot be revoked except by the Court. This is especially important for young adults with certain mental conditions that cause anger issues. If your child gets angry with you, they can revoke an MPOA, POA or HIPPA.

The question of which avenue to take is often difficult and best addressed by an attorney well-versed in these complex legal issues. Boyd Handley of The Handley Law Office has been through this process with his own daughter and compassionately counsels clients on the best direction for their particular situation. Contact Boyd at 281.703.3616 or for an appointment to discuss your family's needs.


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