Being a parent to a child with special needs involves a lot more work and planning than parenting more typical children. While most parenting obligations end when a child turns 18 or graduates from high school, parents who have children with special needs may have obligations that persist for the rest of their lives.
In fact, it may be necessary for parents of special needs children to plan for the care of their children after they die by including a guardian or special needs trust in their last will. When a child with special needs reaches their later teen years, parents will also have to start asking themselves whether their child will continue to need hands-on help after they turn 18.
If you know that your child cannot reasonably handle independent living, manage their own finances or make their own health care decisions, you may want to seek a guardianship over them as they approach the age of 18 in order to better protect them in the long run.
Guardianship benefits someone who cannot care for themselves
When someone is not capable of making legally binding decisions, they may not be able to live on their own or manage their own affairs. People with conditions ranging from autism and Down Syndrome to acquired conditions like traumatic brain injuries may no longer be able to manage their affairs without the assistance or guidance of someone.
In a Texas guardianship, the courts acknowledge someone’s inability to adequately care for themselves and provide a legal means for someone to offer support in critical areas of life, including their finances.
Becoming a guardian ensures your child has ongoing support
As the guardian for your child, you will have the ability to make decisions in their best interests, just like you have done throughout their childhood. That can include granting them as much independence as they can reasonably manage without putting themselves or their future financial stability at risk.
Rather than a means of controlling or punishing your child, seeking a guardianship is a way for you to protect them from the pitfalls that can accompany independent living before they are truly mature enough to handle those responsibilities.