Lesser Restrictive Alternatives
Lesser Restrictive Alternatives to Guardianship
In cases where a lesser restrictive alternative to guardianship is ordered, these alternatives include, but are not limited to, appointing an agent under a medical power of attorney, assigning an attorney or agent under a durable power of attorney, establishing a declaration for mental health treatment, appointing a representative payee, establishing joint bank accounts, creating a management trust, creating a special or supplemental needs trust, designating a guardian before one is needed, and making decisions based on person-centered planning.
Supports and Services
“Supports and services” are closely related to lesser restrictive alternatives, and refer to formal and informal resources and assistance enabling an individual to meet their basic needs, care for their physical or mental health, manage their financial affairs, and make personal decisions regarding residence, voting, operating a motor vehicle, and marriage.
Application for Complete Restoration of Ward’s Capacity or Modification of Guardianship
A ward or one interested in the ward’s welfare may file an application with the court for orders including an order finding that the ward is no longer an incapacitated person resulting in the settlement and closing of the guardianship. The court may also determine that the ward lacks the capacity, or sufficient capacity with supports and services, to do the tasks necessary to fulfill their needs, care for their physical and mental health, or manage their financial affairs, thus granting additional powers and duties to the guardian. Lastly, in cases where the ward has the capacity, or sufficient capacity with supports and services, to do the tasks necessary to fulfill their needs, care for their physical and mental health, or manage their financial affairs, a court may limit the guardian’s powers and duties, thus permitting the ward to care for him or herself, make decisions regarding residence, or manage the ward’s financial affairs consistent with their ability, with or without supports and services.
A person may not reapply for complete restoration of a ward’s capacity or modification of a ward’s guardianship before the first anniversary of the hearing date on the last application, unless otherwise provided by the court in the order granting guardianship.
A guardian cannot prevent a ward from communicating with the court or they risk being removed as guardian. At a hearing on an application for restoration or modification of a guardianship, the court will consider evidence regarding the ward’s mental or physical capacity that is relevant to the complete restoration of the ward’s capacity or modification of the ward’s guardianship at the time of the hearing. In this case, the party who filed the application has the burden of proof at the hearing. Also, the court may not grant an order completely restoring a ward’s capacity or modifying a ward’s guardianship unless the applicant presents the court with a written letter or certificate from a licensed doctor. Evidence that supports and services available to the ward increases the self-sufficiency of the ward may cause a court to limit the specific powers or duties of a Guardian.