At The Forefront Of Disability And Elder Law

Guardianship and Conservatorship for adults with autism

On Behalf of | Apr 5, 2024 | Guardianship |

Guardianship and Conservatorship are important topics for families with adults who have autism. It is a legal process which gives a responsible person the authority to make decisions for an adult who is unable to do so alone.

In Washington, guardianship aims to protect and support the well-being and rights of adults with autism, ensuring they live fulfilling lives. Conservatorship provides financial protections and authority.

Understanding the process

This is a legal process resulting in the appointment an individual to make personal, medical (guardianship) and financial (conservatorship) decisions for another person deemed unable to make these decisions independently. This role is significant for adults with autism who may face challenges in understanding complex situations, communicating their needs, or making informed decisions. The scope of a guardianship and/or conservatorship can be tailored to the individuals actual needs.

Making the decision

Deciding to pursue guardianship/conservatorship is significant and requires careful consideration. Families must assess the adult’s ability to make decisions and their level of independence. The goal is to support the individual’s autonomy and rights while ensuring their safety and well-being. It is a decision that requires thought about what is best for the adult’s future.

Understanding the process

In Washington, the process starts with filing a petition f in court. There are evaluations by professionals to assess the adult’s needs and capabilities. The court then reviews the case, considering the individual’s best interests. If the court establishes guardianship and/or conservatorship, it assigns a guardian/conservator to make decisions on the adult’s behalf.

Supporting autonomy and rights

Guardianship and conservatorship do not mean taking away all decisions from an adult with autism. Instead, it is about providing the necessary support for them to lead as independent a life as possible. Guardians and conservators can help make important decisions while encouraging the adult’s participation and respecting their preferences and rights.

Guardianship and Conservatorship are mechanisms designed to support and protect some of the most vulnerable members of our community, allowing adults with autism to lead safe and healthy lives.


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