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Guardianship For Disabled Adult Children

Handling Guardianships For Developmentally Disabled Adults Since 1996

When developmentally disabled children reach the age of 18, parents or other relatives often petition the courts to be appointed legal guardian(s) of the adult son or daughter. Other relatives who may seek to establish a guardianship for a disabled adult family member include brothers, sisters, aunts or uncles.

A guardian of a disabled adult assumes the legal capacity to make informed decisions on behalf of that person such as the following:

  • Where the developmentally disabled adult will live
  • What type of care and supervision are required
  • How the developmentally disabled adult will interact with the medical community

Peace Of Mind

Many families choose guardianship in order to have peace of mind that their loved one is protected and will not be preyed upon by scam artists or others. Guardians are expected to act in the best interest of the ward, and should not see their role as having to do with limiting social relationships, for example.

If you have a child who is developmentally disabled, you will not automatically retain any rights as your child’s guardian once he or she becomes an adult. If you and other caregivers in your son’s or daughter’s life (such as doctors, psychologists and teachers) agree that he or she cannot make informed decisions, you may want to consider having the court appoint you as the legal guardian when he/she turns 18 years old. Otherwise, if your adult child attempts to make decisions that you deem harmful, you will need to file an action with the court and show that he or she lacks capacity.


The establishment of a guardianship is a legal determination that the person being protected is incapable of making informed decisions. As a result, a person who is subject to a guardianship generally loses all civil rights, including the right to vote, the right to drive a motor vehicle and the right to marry. Before you obtain a court order establishing a guardianship, you need to be certain that his/her mental health professionals and health care providers agree that a guardianship is necessary.

When you are trying to determine whether seeking guardianship is in the best interests of everyone involved, you need an experienced attorney who understands the law, who will help you identify your options, and who will provide you with a clear picture of the consequences of different actions.

When you need skill and experience to help you set up a guardianship for a developmentally disabled child, contact Hoyle Law.

Experienced New Jersey Lawyer

Hoyle Law, LLC, in Allenhurst has worked with families and their disabled children since 1996, providing counsel and representation in all matters involving guardianships. Because of the firm’s knowledge of and experience in guardianship matters, other attorneys often retain the services of the firm’s founder as an expert witness in guardianship proceedings. The entire firm draws on the experience of lead attorney, John G. Hoyle III, a Certified Master Guardian, one of only a handful in the state of New Jersey. Contact the firm for a confidential meeting to talk about your needs.