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Incapacitated adults rely on guardians for a number of things

Those individuals in Massachusetts and elsewhere who are appointed as guardians of adults have a number of responsibilities. After all, incapacitated adults depend on these individuals to make many important medical and personal decisions for them — among other things, — which is no small feat. What are some of the duties and responsibilities assigned to guardians, and are there any limits to their decision making powers?

The list of a guardians duties and responsibilities is fairly extensive. What is on this list may vary depending on the limitations of the individual placed in a guardian’s care. However, common responsibilities include:

  • Providing for everyday needs
  • Advocating for legal rights
  • Making decisions about medical care and treatment
  • Ensuring living environment is safe and appropriate

Believe it or not, guardians do have limitations as to what they are allowed to do. Just because a guardianship is granted, it does not mean that the appointed individual will get to do whatever he or she wants. What a guardian is allowed to do will be spelled out in detail in the Decree and Order and Letters of Appointment. Anything beyond what is listed in that decree will require court approval.

Guardians of incapacitated adults have tough roles to fill. It is a position that can truly take a toll on one’s life, so understanding what it involves is important. Those in Massachusetts who are considering taking on the role of guardian can seek legal counsel in order to obtain more information about what it truly involves and what the state requires of those in such positions. If there is still a desire to move forward in pursuing a guardianship, one’s legal representative can then provide further assistance in taking the steps necessary for this to be accomplished.

Source:, “What does a Guardian of an Adult Do?“, Accessed on Oct. 19, 2016


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