Guardianships or what?

I probably responded a bit sharply to Renee regarding whose decision things are.  Sorry, had a lloonngg day at the hospital.
 
It did bring to mind the question of guardianships.
 
How many folks have a full guardianship?  Why?  Problems?
 
How many have a limited guardianship.  Why?  Problems?
 
How many none?  Why?  Problems?
 
I remember when Tim was injured, and he could no longer use his hands to sign paperwork.  At that time, an attorney advised us that we should get control of his legal issues since he couldn't sign the way he used to.  Of course, this was absolute nonsense - Tim signs perfectly well using a pen in his mouth.  But this statement did highlight a general public perception.
 
OTOH, we have a full guardianship of Andy.  I resent the effort and expense we had to go to to get this, and the annual report we have to send in, etc.
 
Other insights?

I'm really glad you brought up this subject.  As with everything, my son is on the cusp.  I have not obtained any form of guardianship for him for several reasons.  One is probably pure laziness on my part.  I just have not done well in the world of "see this attorney and fill out this paperwork and and and and...."  The other is an emotional resistence on my part to do anything that would make my son's experience less than as typical as possible.  He KNOWS about guardianship.  We have discussed this at length.  I've told him that I am willing to be his guardian if HE wants me to be.  He knows there may come a time when I will ASK him to let me be his guardian.  He knows why I haven't done it up to now.  We ease into everything with him.  Right now, I am simply his rep payee for SSI.  That does a lot in and of itself.  I have, however, talked to parents who have urged me to get at least a limited guardianship so that police and what not have to talk to me if something happens.  I do see value in that and I think my son would actually want that.  He has enough congnitive ability to understand what a world of hurt he could be in if nobody could advocate for him.  He tells me the things he needs help with.  But in his case in court I know he would have to be solidly convinced that he wants and needs a guardian. 
 
So that is my wishy-washy story about guardianship!

We haven't had the money to get legal guardianship, but I know we need to as soon as possible! This kids-as-adult thing kind of creeped up on us. Where should we go to do this? How much for attorny fees? I'm clueless, but clearly we're at risk regarding the Normality Police or the Medical Gods. . . . Maybe we could just file the papers ourselves? Like a do it yourself divorce or something? - Carolyn

I don’t recommend that most families get an attorney to do guardianship – if you just Google Denver Probate Court, you can get all the forms.  Just fill ‘em out – like any other paperwork for government – repeat what they want you to say.  Get a Doctor to write a letter (I wrote the letter and the Doctor signed it) – take it to the court and file it (this is the part that I just can’t seem to get done).  Shouldn’t cost you more than $150.00 and there is a form that you can fill out to get the fees waived.  If you want – someday when we’re both in front of our computers – give me a call and I’ll walk you through it.  The only time you really need an attorney to do it is if there is someone that will contest it (divorce kind of stuff) or the individual is going to contest it.  I have heard families that have paid a fortune for this to an attorney – and I just don’t think that is necessary.  I thought it was a big deal to get guardianship, and like Renee, my biggest fear is the involvement of law enforcement.  So far we haven’t had any problems not having guardianship for Alex (Mr. Meredith – 22 yr old with autism).  He signed a Medical Proxy so I can talk to the docs – but most times they don’t ask to see it.  Had to use it for the Mental Health appeal – which was a waste of time because the services weren’t worth fighting for.  Now we have really good support for mental health through the Behavioral Team at DDRC – they fund it through the Mill Levy.  Got to sleep now – this has been a LONG week! - Carol

don’t recommend that most families get an attorney to do guardianship – if you just Google Denver Probate Court, you can get all the forms.  Just fill ‘em out – like any other paperwork for government – repeat what they want you to say.  Get a Doctor to write a letter (I wrote the letter and the Doctor signed it) – take it to the court and file it (this is the part that I just can’t seem to get done).  Shouldn’t cost you more than $150.00 and there is a form that you can fill out to get the fees waived.  If you want – someday when we’re both in front of our computers – give me a call and I’ll walk you through it.  The only time you really need an attorney to do it is if there is someone that will contest it (divorce kind of stuff) or the individual is going to contest it.  I have heard families that have paid a fortune for this to an attorney – and I just don’t think that is necessary.  I thought it was a big deal to get guardianship, and like Renee, my biggest fear is the involvement of law enforcement.  So far we haven’t had any problems not having guardianship for Alex (Mr. Meredith – 22 yr old with autism).  He signed a Medical Proxy so I can talk to the docs – but most times they don’t ask to see it.  Had to use it for the Mental Health appeal – which was a waste of time because the services weren’t worth fighting for.  Now we have really good support for mental health through the Behavioral Team at DDRC – they fund it through the Mill Levy.  Got to sleep now – this has been a LONG week! - Carol

I neither have full or limited guardianship.  Rather I have power of attorney over medical and financial matters.  I am the representative payee for Becky’s social security.  I let her take the lead in terms of financial and medical decisions-however, when asked direct questions she will frequently say I don’t know/understand what you are saying-talk to my mom.  For now this works well – but I recognize that it does not address long term issues – I haven’t made plans for who takes over when I am no longer physically or cognitively (too senile) to be able to manage.  When Becky was very young I found the best way to deal with issues associated with her health and learning (and in order to keep my sanity) was to take things one day at a time.  I know this is not the best approach, but, but, but, but….

 

As for our children’s reproductive “rights”…  Becky is a sexual being (but not necessarily with a partner)-however, I can’t imagine her carrying a baby to term, giving birth and parenting a child.  My concern with such a scenario is first with her own health (Becky has a number of fairly significant health issues) and second is centered around her skills/level of understanding - I am not interested in parenting a grandchild.  I have worked with Becky a great deal-she understands what it takes to get pregnant, kind of understands the measures that can be taken to prevent/terminate a pregnancy; but clearly articulates she is not interested in being a parent (hates the smell of baby poop and doesn’t want to share her toys).  I have never approached the subject of having her tubes tied because I understand that this raises the potential of a different set of health issues after time.  Having said that, I know that things can happen and our daughters are the ones who can get pregnant – as parents we often influence their decision as to whether to continue or terminate a pregnancy. 

I do not have guardianship of my two sons.  Instead I have a power of attorney to
handle their medical and finanacial decisions.  In order to get a POA, the person
must be able to understand they are giving consent to some decisions being
made for them; however, they also understand that they can terminate the POA
anytime they choose to.  This is what we had for our two sons all the way through
school (so we could make the educational decisions).  When one of my sons
was diagnosed with cancer,  the hospital and the insurance company both wanted
permission to discuss his case with me.  At that point we had our attorney draw
up a new POA to cover the medical/financial situation.  Both of my sons are
happy to have us make those decisions as they realize (usually) that they don't
want to make those decisions.  We always discuss whatever the issue is with
them so they understand why we're making the decision that we make.  So far
it has worked out fine.  And the CCB honors it by including us in their decision
making.  
Sylvia
Denver
Mom to 2 adult sons

By the way...on the "non guardianship" side....
So far in my son's adult life....everyone has treated me as if I am his guardian.  Nobody has ever asked if I am.  I just step in and tell them the situation.  About 90% of the time this is going to work fine.  It's that other 10% that's a bugger.  And for us, the biggest way this would impact him/us is with the police.  There could be issues with medical power of attorney if he were in the hospital.  For the most part, however, he has been able to make really good choices and decisions about his medical care, including which meds he wants to be on and for his HRT, the method of delivery (he prefers shots because he knows he can't remember to put a patch or gel on every day). 
 
We have a very close relationship with all the doctors we deal with for my son and he doesn't have the life-threatening issues that Renee W. is talking about that would make someone make a judgment call.  I can't even imagine that one Renee and I am sure you made a great decision and will do the same with Deidra.  Maybe some of what I've said about my son help with that, too.
 
Renee
Aurora

We decided on full guardianship for Aaron. Hardest thing I've done so
far in his life. I spent my inheritance from an aunt on doing our
wills, doing the guardianship, setting everything up. I don't resent
the money so much as the dignity.
But, when it finally came to the hearing and we had to speak before
the judge, even though I did through tears, I was able to say
officially that this wasn't what we had wanted, had anticipated, and
that we were doing this so that some doctor with different values
than us couldn't just decide that Aaron's life had no value and let
him go when we value his life highly. And that we would let him make
his own decisions, even when they weren't our choices, so long as it
wasn't a life threatening issue. That we expected him to make poor
choices, that's part of maturing and growing up--whether you have a
developmental disability or not.
The judge was supportive.
But the truth is, ok, we file that report once a year. What if we
were schmucks and took advantage of him? No one would ever come and
check up on us or him.
Which makes me all the more adamant to make sure that when we are
gone that he has someone who shares our values to be his guardian.

When it comes time for Deidra (she's 17 this year) I don't know how
we will handle it. Probably Medical power of attorney. I'm sure we
won't go for full guardianship. Again, for her, it's primarily
protecting her from the medical community. But she is a pretty strong
self advocate, and though she doesn't always handle money well, I
think she'll be ok without our full guardianship.

Both kids hope to marry some day, so that will be an interesting turn
of events should that happen.

Renee W
__._,_.___