"There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things."

~ Niccolo Machiavelli, historian and writer

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Beating An [Almost] Dead Horse

You don't have to spend much time around here to realize that I consider guardianship to be an important option to be seriously considered by parents of adult children with disabilities.

Many, of course, feel differently on the subject. Many, in fact, feel strongly differently.

Which has led to many a conversation on the subject in which I heard expressed people's concerns and confusion. On everything from the philosophical to the eminently practical, including the query of how necessary guardianship is and whether it's even available in the case of a higher functioning individual and what, if any, other options to guardianship might be available.

I have often been asked, for example, whether a person with a disability could simply execute a Power of Attorney (POA) in favour of the parent instead of the parent having to go through the guardianship process. For the past few days I've been working on a blawg post which tried to cover all the issues inherent in that particular question. This evening I realized there are simply too many points to simply throw into one post.

So. Time for Plan B.

I am going to try to respond to some as many of the issues surrounding guardianship (including the relationship between guardianship and a POA) as I reasonably can in a multi-part series of posts over the next over little while.

So far, the issues I hope to cover include
  1. What options, other than guardianship, are available in Nova Scotia to transfer or support the decision-making power of an adult with a disability
  2. What rights, exactly, are "taken away" from the person with a disability if guardianship is granted and what are the practical effects of this
  3. In the case of higher functioning adults, whether guardianship is
    • a legally-available option; or
    • even necessary
  4. The many issues involved in deciding between a Power of Attorney as opposed to guardianship, which include
    • the level of competency that is required in order to execute a valid POA
    • potential issues surrounding the revocation of a POA
    • which decision-making powers are transferred with a POA
    • what other documents might be required to transfer other decision-making powers not covered by a POA
    • using a POA to open a RDSP on behalf of another individual
  5. What other provinces have done around the issue of guardianship for persons with disabilities
  6. Realistically, what options currently are or might in the future be available for a parent seeking guardianship of their adult child other than the traditional option of hiring a lawyer

So there you have it. My plan, at least for the moment.

Unless, of course, you, dear reader, would care to throw some additional questions/issues on the subject into the mix. In which case, drop me a comment or an email and let me know over the next few days week.

In the meantime, stay tuned. And watch this space.

No comments: