Alternatives to Guardianship for Adults with Disabilities

There are some situations which do not require a guardianship appointment. Sometimes, a person requires assistance in order to maintain their independence. Persons who are well enough to make or communicate decisions should be encouraged to take measures to communicate their concerns and instructions to a trusted person.

In certain circumstance, the appointment of a trusted person to act on another's behalf can  avoid the need for a guardianship proceeding.

A Healthcare Power of Attorney designates a health care agent and describes the powers that the person can have over decisions involving your health.

A Mental Health Directive indicates or describes treatment preferences or instructions. This document may also be called a Psychiatric Advanced Directive.

The HIPPA Release authorizes the release of healthcare records to designated person.

A Financial Power of Attorney designates an agent to act on your behalf with respect to specific areas dealing with finances and business transactions matters. This document may be effective upon signing or may be effective only after person is incapacitated.

A Living Will instructs your family or agent about the life-saving procedures that you prefer to receive at the end of your life.

All of these documents can be used to protect an individual but can create serious unintended consequences. It is advisable to consult with an attorney before signing any of these documents.



The Medicare program became law in 1966. Under Title XVIII of the Social Security Act, Medicare provides health insurance for persons over the age of 65, persons who are under 65 and disabled, persons with ALS-Lou Gehrig’s Disease and persons with End State Renal Disease (ESRD).