PRACTICAL Tool for Guardianship

Guardianship Dana Adkins Law

Guardianship

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 Acronym

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.

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