Increasing Entry to Counsel for Individuals With Disabilities

Guardianship, a form of substitute decision ordered by the court, deprives the individual of fundamental, constitutionally protected interests in freedom and property. The powers of a guardian can be restricted by a court of law or plenary (absolute). The person’s full guardians can decide where the people they have custody of live and work for, what disability and health care benefits they receive, and can, with judicial approval, prohibit people from marrying or force sterilization. Full guardians of the estate control the contracts, funds, assets, and property of individuals over whom they have guardianship.

Even if guardians are well-meaning, guardianship deprives individuals of the right to make their own decisions – an important basis for individual autonomy and self-determination.

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