PRACTICAL Tool for Guardianship

Guardianship Dana Adkins Law


Guardianship is designed to protect the best interests of a person with mental impairments. A guardian is appointed by the Probate Court to manage the personal and medical care of an incapacitated person. My blog, Protecting the Best Interests of an Incapacitated Adult – When, Where, What, Who, Why, and How, is a resource that explains the details of serving as a guardian for an incapacitated adult.

Guardianship is viewed as a last resort because it is a very drastic intervention, removing the rights and self-determination of a person. Other options may be considered before guardianship in order to help these individuals, including supported decision-making, where a person uses support from trusted people in order to better understand his or her choices.

PRACTICAL Tool for Guardianship

A new resource guide, the PRACTICAL Tool, is designed to help attorneys identify and implement decision-making options for those with mental disabilities that are less restrictive than guardianship. The PRACTICAL Tool was compiled as a resource from the American Bar Association with input from the National Resource Center for Supported Decision-Making.


PRACTICAL is an acronym for nine steps to promote self-determination before moving to guardianship:

Presume guardianship is not needed;
– identify the Reasons for concern;
Ask if a concern may be temporary;
– determine if concerns can be addressed by Community resources;
– ask if the person already has a Team to help make decisions;
Identify the person’s abilities;
– screen for potential Challenges;
– seek Appointment of a legal supporter consistent with the person’s values;
Limit any necessary guardianship petition.

As more attorneys adopt and use this tool, it should help provide options and resources for people with mental health disabilities before guardianship is implemented.

Interested in hiring Dana Adkins Law? The process begins with a consultation. Contact my office today to get started.