Planning for the Protected Person's Needs
There are less restrictive alternatives to a guardianship or conservatorship, and they may better serve the needs of a person with diminished capacity. For more information see our page on Options for Protecting an Adult with Diminished Capacity.
If you find it necessary to be appointed as someone's guardian or conservator, start planning for serving in those roles as soon as possible. Once you are appointed, your responsibilities begin immediately, and it is easy to be overwhelmed. Take care of the most urgent needs first; then arrange for general needs.
You will be taking responsibility for another person's life, and you will want to give some thought to what that means in day-to-day circumstances. Planning ahead can make things easier when the time comes for difficult decisions. The Care Planning Considerations below may be helpful. It is written as a conversation that you might have with yourself, with the protected person, and with advisors as you see fit. We hope it helps you work through decisions about issues you are likely to face. You may need to make some decisions more than once, as circumstances change.
The Considerations assume that you are using the "substituted judgment standard" for most decisions. For more information, see our page on Decision Making Standards. Some sections begin by asking about what the protected person wants to do. If the protected person can afford that course of action and it does not cause harm, what the protected person wants to do is the preferred course of action.
Try to discuss the questions and answers with the protected person as much as possible. Encourage the protected person to participate in the decision making process, make suggestions, and express concerns, wishes, values and preferences. This approach recognizes the protected person's independence and dignity and encourages the protected person's maximum self-reliance.