Guardianship is a legal tool that grants a parent or other adult legal authority to make decisions for a legally disabled adult. An adult is considered to be legally disabled (a ward) if a court after a jury trial has ruled in a disability hearing that the person cannot take care of her personal needs or manage her finances. At the same time the court declares a person to be disabled, it appoints a guardian or a conservator to help with personal or financial needs in the areas the disabled person can’t manage along.
In deciding this at the disability hearing, the court will look to see if the person can take care of some things on her own. Can she take care of her own money, her nutrition and her physical health and safety? If the person needs help in some areas, but not others, the court may appoint a limited guardian or a conservator. There are also many alternatives to guardianship that might be a better way to help.