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Guardianship takes away a person's ability to make choices about his or her life. There are other options which place fewer restrictions on a person with a disability that should be considered before deciding to appoint a guardian. This section provides information about guardianship and its alternatives.
Alternatives to Guardianship
It is important to consider the alternatives to having a guardianship.
- Power of Attorney: A "Power of Attorney" is a legal document that authorizes another person to act on behalf of a person. A power of attorney can grant complete authority or can be limited to certain acts and/or certain periods of time. In Ohio, there are laws that define several kinds of legal documents by which a person may name other people to speak for them. Learn more about powers of attorney in the Advance Directives section of the LRS Web site.
- Social Security Representative Payeeship: The Social Security Administration (SSA) has a program that provides financial management for people who are having difficulty managing their Social Security or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments. The SSA first looks for family or friends to be a "representative payee." If family or friends are not available, SSA looks for qualified organizations to be a representative payee. Learn more in the Representative Payee Program section of the SSA Web site.
- Adult Protective Services for adults with developmental disabilities (DD): Protective services are available for adults with DD through the person's local county board of DD. Contact the county board of Developmental Disabilities for more information.
- Adult Protective Services for the elderly: If an elder lives in a nursing home or adult care facility and has unmet needs or problems with care, the Long-term Care Ombudsman Program of the Ohio Department of Aging can help. If an elder is suspected of being abused or neglected, contact the person's county department of Job and Family Services.
- Protection orders: A "protection order" is an order that lists a condition to provide safety and security for a specified person. A protection order may be used to order someone who is hurting a person or threatening to hurt a person to stay away and not have any contact. To get a protection order, contact your local civil or criminal court.
For more information, read these publications written by Disability Rights Ohio:
- Frequently Asked Questions: Guardianship and Its Alternatives
- Take Charge of Your Life: Know About Guardianship
Information from other organizations
- American Bar Association - Commission on Law & Aging
- American Bar Association - Vulnerable Adults and Special Needs Families Committee
- Guardianships - Cases of Financial Exploitation, Neglect, and Abuse of Seniors (PDF file)
- National Association to Stop Guardian Abuse
- National Guardianship Association
- Ohio Guardianship Association
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