• Guardians act on behalf of the “ward” without being questioned by third parties.A court has sanctioned guardianships, and third parties generally don’t question the guardian’s authority to act for the ward.



  • Someone has to go to court to petition for guardianship.In court, your competence will be challenged. This can be a dispiriting process.

  • You have to go back to court to modify or terminate a guardianship.

  • Any power that is given to your guardian is correspondingly taken away from you.A guardianship prevents you from making personal decisions or exercising legal rights.

  • Generally, if you are under a guardianship you are not invested in decision-making about your life. You would not be required to participate in the process of learning how to make good decisions, or debate the consequences of making decisions.You are unlikely to learn about your rights or about the issues that affect you. All of these are important skills to develop. While a guardian should consider your preferences, there is no requirement that the guardian act on your preference.





Advantages:  There are many benefits to avoiding a guardianship and  using alternatives to guardianship instead:

  • Using these alternatives is recognition of how important it is for people to have individual rights, and the process of putting alternatives in place is a valuable learning experience.

  • You avoid the court proceeding where your competence is challenged and where you may be found incompetent to manage some or all of your affairs.

  • If your only financial challenges are dealing with SSI or SSDI, Representative Payees solve those problems at no cost and without you having to demonstrate capacity.Likewise automatic bill paying is easy and inexpensive.

  • Alternatives promote your dignity, independence, and freedom of choice.With Legal Agency Documents, you choose the Agent, can choose what powers to share and what powers not to share, and are much more likely to be involved in decision-making.

  • In short, avoiding a guardianship promotes your full and effective participation and inclusion in society.

  • For families who are philosophically opposed to guardianship, and are now using only supported decision-making strategies with third parties, it can be reassuring to have properly drafted and signed Powers of Attorney available. This is because families often worry that, at some point, providers will not allow the informal arrangements to continue.These documents can provide a sense of security.



  • Legal Agency alternatives require that you and your support people work together to put these documents in place.It can take time to master the ideas that you need to understand in order to sign legal documents.

  • Not all people can demonstrate the capacity to sign legal documents.

  • Legal costs are involved in setting up some of these alternatives.

  • There can be trial and error involved.A provider may need to be convinced that these documents actually work as they should.

  • A provider could reject legal documents and the only options would be to go to court or file for guardianship.