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GUARDIANSHIPS: Protecting Your Rights. Self-Advocacy Training. What is this training about?. This training will help you learn: What a guardian does. How a guardian is chosen. How to end a guardianship. How to protect your rights. .

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Protecting Your Rights

Self-Advocacy Training

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What is this training about?

This training will help you learn:

  • What a guardian does.

  • How a guardian is chosen.

  • How to end a guardianship.

  • How to protect your rights.

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Guardian: A person that has the legal right to make some choices for another person.

Conservator: The person that has the legal right to make choices about money for another person.

►►Because the same person is often the guardian and the conservator, this training uses the word guardian to mean both.◄◄

What is a guardian?

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Why have a guardian?

A guardian may help:

  • Make important decisions

  • Pay bills

  • Protect a person’s rights

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Why not have a guardian?

A guardian may not help because a


  • Take away independence

  • Hurt the person

  • Make bad decisions

  • Make the person feel bad or angry

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How can I not have a guardian?

  • A person may not need a guardian if the person shows that he or she can get help in other ways.

    ►►What are some other ways a person can get help?◄◄

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What are other ways to get help?

Other ways to get help making choices

about money:

  • Have a representative payeetohelp spend Social Security money.

  • Have another person, a co-signer, to help spend money in a joint bank account.

  • Use a trust and a trustee.

  • Use ateam or a support person to set up a plan to help pay bills.

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Other ways to get help (cont.)

Other ways to get help making

choices about health and safety:

  • Have someone help you with applying for Medicaid or Social Security.

  • Choose someone to make medical choices for you.

  • Use a team or a support person to help you make choices.

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How is a guardian chosen?

Idaho has a law that gives the rules on how a

guardian is chosen. The law, the DD Act says

that a person with a disability:

➜ does not have to have a guardian.

➜ should be as independent as possible.

➜ should take part in decisions.

➜ should learn new skills.

➜ must have his or her rights protected.

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How (cont.)

  • The DD Act says that 5 things must happen before a guardian can be appointed.

    Step 1: Paperwork is given to the court

    Step 2: A lawyer is chosen for the person

    Step 3: Evaluations are done.

    Step 4: A hearing is held.

    Step 5: The judge signs an order.

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Step 1: Filing paperwork

  • Any person can ask a judge to decide if a person needs a guardian.

  • This person brings papers (called a petition) to the courthouse.

  • The person must give copies of the papers to the person with a disability.

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Step 2: Choosing a lawyer

  • A lawyer will be chosen for the person.

  • The person can also choose his or her own lawyer.

  • The lawyer must learn what the person wants and tell this to the court.

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Step 3: Getting Information

The judge will ask an “evaluation committee,”

to visit the person.

The evaluation committee includes:

 A social worker

A medical doctor

 A psychologist or person trained

in psychology.

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Step 3 (cont.)

The Evaluation Committee writes a report

to the judge. The report must say:

➜ If the person needs a guardian.

➜ What the person does not need help with.

➜ What the person does need help with.

➜ If the guardian will do a good job.

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Step 4: Having a Hearing

  • The judge will have a meeting at the courthouse, called a hearing.

  • At the hearing, the judge will listen to people talk about if the person needs a guardian.

  • What the judge listens to and reads at the hearing is called evidence.

    ►►The person canalso ask other people to give evidence at the hearing.◄◄

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Step 5: Making a Decision

The judge will:

  • Decide if the person needs a guardian.

  • Decide what the guardian can do.

  • Sign papers that say what the judge decides.

    ►►The person must get a copy of the papers, called the “Letters of Guardianship.”◄◄

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What can a guardian do?

The judge will decide what choices the

guardian can make for the person.

  • A full guardian has the right to make many choices for a person.

  • A partial guardian can only make the choices that the papers, or the Letters of Guardianship, say.

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What can a full guardian do?

  • Afullguardian can make decisions about:


     treatment

     work or school

     service providers

     money

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What can a partial guardian do?

  • A partialguardian can only make the choices that the judge allows.

    ►►It is important toknow what choices a partial guardian can and cannot make.◄◄

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Can the guardianship be changed?

Does a guardianship have to last forever?


A person can ask the judge to:

Endthe guardianship

Limitthe decisions the guardian makes

Choose a new guardian

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Changing (cont.)

The person or any friend can file papers with the court to ask the judge to change the guardianship.

►►The lawyer chosen for the person earlier can help change the guardianship later.◄◄

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Changing (cont.)

  • Step 1: File paperwork with the court.

  • Step 2: Have a new evaluation or give the court new information.

  • Step 3: Have a new hearing.

  • Step 4: Get a new order from the judge.

    ►►To end the guardianship, you should have new tests that say that you can make safe choices by yourself.◄◄

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All people should be treated with dignitywhether or not they have a guardian.

Does a person have rights under a guardianship?

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Rights (cont.)

  • Dignitymeans having:





    Self-determination is important for all.

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Rights (cont.)

At the hearing, the person has a right


  • Have a lawyer.

  • Have the judge know what the person wants.

  • Ask people questions.

  • Bring people to talk about what the person can do.

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Rights (cont.)

Even with a guardian, people have

rights, such as the right to:

  • Vote

  • Have friends

  • Be safe from harm

  • Get information about themselves

  • Say what they think

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Rights (cont.)

  • Get married or divorced

  • Have children

  • Keep information private

  • Make as many choices as possible

  • Have their things and money kept safe

    ►►Being a self-advocate means telling someone if you are denied your rights.◄◄

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  • This training was funded in part by the Administration on Developmental Disabilities.

  • The information does not necessarily reflect the views of that agency

  • This training is not meant to be legal advice.

  • Revised 9/09