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.
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?
Why have a guardian? A guardian may help: • Make important decisions • Pay bills • Protect a person’s rights
Why not have a guardian? A guardian may not help because a guardianmay: • Take away independence • Hurt the person • Make bad decisions • Make the person feel bad or angry
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?◄◄
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.◄◄
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.”◄◄
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.
What can a full guardian do? • Afullguardian can make decisions about: housing treatment work or school service providers money
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.◄◄
Can the guardianship be changed? Does a guardianship have to last forever? NO! A person can ask the judge to: Endthe guardianship Limitthe decisions the guardian makes Choose a new guardian
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.◄◄
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.◄◄
REMEMBER: All people should be treated with dignitywhether or not they have a guardian. Does a person have rights under a guardianship?
Rights (cont.) • Dignitymeans having: ★Freedom ★Choice ★Respect ★Rights Self-determination is important for all.
Rights (cont.) At the hearing, the person has a right to: • Have a lawyer. • Have the judge know what the person wants. • Ask people questions. • Bring people to talk about what the person can do.
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
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.◄◄
Credits DISABILITY RIGHTS IDAHO 1-800-262-3462 www.disabilityrightsidaho.org
Credits IDAHO COUNCIL ON DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES 1-208-334-2178 www.icdd.idaho.gov
Credits IDAHO SELF-ADVOCATE LEADERSHIP NETWORK www.idahocdhd.org
Credits • 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