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Planning guardianships for Massachusetts special needs children

Parenting can be challenging under the best of circumstances. However, for Massachusetts parents who have children with special needs, the challenges only increase. One may include the consideration of guardianships when children turn 18.

Becoming an adult means something different for the family of a special needs child than it does for the family of other children. The future often looks different. Instead of planning for college, many parents of children with disabilities make plans to continue to maintain oversight of the person and property of their children.

For some, the decision to become the guardian or conservator of an adult child is not a clear-cut choice. Children showing improvement may not need a guardian when they become adults. On the other hand, other children may only need a guardian for a relatively short period of time. Part of the consideration of having a guardianship includes the fact that it does put limitations on what an adult child can do. However, it also keeps parents informed by allowing them access to important information regarding their child, such as medical records and financial affairs.

Of course, the goal is for a special needs child to grow and progress enough to be independent, without the need for a guardian. Nevertheless, guardianships are an important tool for Massachusetts parents looking to protect their children, whether it is for a short time or on a permanent basis. Navigating the legal system in order to obtain a guardianship can be confusing, however. Getting through the process may require at least some knowledge of the requirements of a guardianship, the paperwork involved and applicable local court procedures.

Source:, Planning for Future Care of Special Needs Children, No author, Jan. 15, 2014


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