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  • 1. Powers of Attorney & Guardianship “ GLSC-DLC will provide legal assistance, advocate, and promote equal rights and equal access to justice for the underserved communities of Guam” GLSC-DLC Mission Statement
  • 2. Power of Attorney
    • Basically an affidavit, not a court order
    • Gives authority to act on behalf of the signer for specific or general purposes
    • Does not prevent individual from acting on his or her own behalf
  • 3. Specific Power of Attorney (SPOA)
    • Called Special Power of Attorney
    • Limited to those purposes listed in the SPOA
    • Usually for cashing checks and paying bills
    • Often limited for a specific period of time
  • 4. General Power of Attorney (GPOA)
    • Gives complete authority over everything belonging to the signer
    • Can even transfer land from signer to others, including attorney-in-fact
    • Signer must have absolute trust in attorney-in-fact, usually parent/spouse
    • Can lead to family conflicts later depending on how GPOA is used
  • 5. “ Durable” Power of Attorney
    • Remains in effect when individual becomes incompetent
    • Incompetent – no longer able to understand and care for self
  • 6. Regular Power of Attorney
    • Can be revoked by signer
      • “ Durable” can be revoked until individual becomes incompetent
      • After become incompetent can be supplanted by guardianship
    • Not as effective or as accepted as a court order
  • 7. Guardianship of a Minor (under 18)
    • Petition
    • - Need for Guardianship
    • Parents – Estate
    • Non-parents – Care & Custody
    • Especially for medical and educational needs
    • - Supporting documents
    • Birth Certificate
    • Evidence of Estate
  • 8. Guardianship of a Minor
    • Making medical decisions and getting copies of medical records
    • Making school-related decisions and getting education records
    • Adding a non-biological child to an adult’s health insurance coverage;
    • Accessing certain public benefits, such as public housing
  • 9. Some areas that a court may grant Guardianship are:
    • Traveling or deciding where to live
    • Refusing or consenting to medical treatment
    • Treatment in a hospital or institution
    • Possessing or managing real or personal property or income
    • Initiating, defending, or settling lawsuits
    • Paying or collecting debts
    • Access to and release of confidential records and papers
    • Making a will
  • 10. How to choose a Guardian:
    • In making a selection of an individual to serve as guardian, first consideration is usually given to those who play a significant role in the person’s life. The guardian should be someone who is both aware of and sensitive to the disabled person’s needs and preferences. It is very important to remember that guardianship is a relationship in which one person places trust and confidence in the capability, integrity and fidelity of another. It is within the power of the court to name co-guardians if two individuals wish to share the duties.
  • 11. Adults with Disabilities (Intellectual and Physical)
    • Petition
      • Need for guardianship
      • Disability
        • Unable to care for self without assistance
        • Mental / medical evaluation
      • Supporting documents
        • Birth Certificate
        • Evidence of estate
        • Documentation of disability
  • 12. Procedure at GLSC-DLC
    • Commence by intake interviews
    • Meet with advocate, then attorney
        • Review legal documents: Petition, consents
        • Consents of parents, proposed guardians, and/or siblings
    • File in court
        • Assigned to judge
        • Set for hearing
  • 13. Hearing
    • Proposed guardians, parents and ward need to appear
    • Judge reviews petition
    • Petition granted
        • order not necessarily released immediately
        • processed by court
  • 14. Order
    • Be sure to keep certified copy
    • Give copies to school (for minors)
    • Limits ability of disabled adult to act on his or her own behalf
  • 15. Client Rights: Right to Self Determination
    • Best Practice: The Guardian must balance their obligation to both protect vulnerable adults and respect their right to self-determination:
      • Limiting the guardianship (court order) to the greatest extent possible
      • Establishing a guardianship plan that maximizes autonomy
      • Allowing for the individual to make decisions whenever that choice will not adversely affect his/her health, safety, or well being
      • The guardian’s personal choice or preference is not relevant
  • 16. Clients Rights: Least Restrictive Alternative
    • Best Practice: To maximize the individual’s personal freedom by choosing the least restrictive intervention that will effectively meet their needs.
      • Identify the least restrictive forms of intervention in the guardianship plan.
      • Monitor the effectiveness and appropriateness of services being provided and make changes as needed.
  • 17. When does guardianship end?
    • The responsibilities of a guardian usually end, in a legal sense, when the child reaches 18 years of age, marries, is adopted, or if guardianship is ended by the court, the guardian, the child or the parent.
  • 18. Thank you! Guam Legal Services Corporation Disability Law Center 113 Bradley Place, Hagatna, GU 96910 Tel: (671) 477-9811 TDD/TTY: (671) 477-3416 Email: [email_address] www.lawhelp.org/gu