Guardianship Alternatives

Guardianship Alternatives


Six Month Short-Term Guardianship (for minor children)

Parents can sign a voluntary, six-month short-term guardianship to place children in the care of another person temporarily without going to court. The parents and temporary guardian must sign and notarize the agreement. The short-term guardianship automatically expires six months after all parties have signed the agreement. You can do this yourself by downloading the following form:

Six-Month Short-Term Guardianship Agreement (pdf fillable)


Options for Children with Disabilities Approaching Adulthood

Parents of children with disabilities are frequently told the parents must file for guardianship when their child turns 18 so the parent can continue to advocate for them.  This is not necessarily true.  While guardianship may be needed for young adults with severe disabilities, there are many other options for children with disabilities who are about to turn 18.  Visit the Legal Aid Center website to find a guide that explains the options for parents in detail.


Adoption (for minor children)

This legally replaces the parents for the rest of a child's life.  You can learn more about the law and the process by visiting the Child Adoption Overview page.  


Supported Decision Making Agreement

This is commonly used for adults with cognitive or intellectual disabilities where the person selects trusted people to help them with their decision making.  The selected supporters help the person understand situations and choices the person faces, answer questions, explore options, and offer recommendations.  This allows the disabled person to make their own decisions.  The supporters are legally empowered to help the person carry out their wishes if needed. 

The following is a sample form, but you may need legal assistance to create one that better fits your situation. 

Supported Decision Making Agreement


Durable Power of Attorney

This gives a person the power to make decisions for another.  You can prepare your own free financial power of attorney by using the free software from LawHelpInteractive or use the forms below.

Power of Attorney - Financial

Certificate of Capacity to Sign POA


Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care Decisions

This gives a person the power to make health care decisions for another if the person becomes disabled or incapacitated.  You can prepare your own free health care power of attorney by using the free software from LawHelpInteractive or use the forms below.

Durable Power of Attorney - Health Care for Persons with Intellectual Disabilities

Durable Power of Attorney - Health Care for Person with Dementia

Durable Statutory Power of Attorney - Health Care

Certificate of Capacity to Sign POA


Advanced Directive for Psychiatric Care

This states a person's wishes for psychiatric care in the event the person becomes incapable of making or communicating treatment decisions.  It can name a person to be in charge of psychiatric decision-making and select preferences for treatment, including medical facilities/medications to use or avoid. 

Advanced Directive for Psychiatric Care 


Living Wills

This directs people what to do if you have an incurable and irreversible condition. This is also known as a “Declaration Designating Another Person to Decide to Withhold or Withdraw Life-Sustaining Treatment.” You can find these forms below.

Declaration Designating Person to Decide Withholding of Life Sustaining Treatment

Declaration Directing Physician to Decide Withholding of Life Sustaining Treatment


Living Trust

This operates during the lifetime of the person on behalf of another person. An attorney should be consulted when creating a living trust.


Representative Payee

If a person age 60 or older is having trouble managing their finances, they can voluntarily enroll in the Public Guardian’s Representative Payee program. Services include ensuring monthly bills are paid to secure shelter, food, and clothing needs. You can find out more about this program by visiting Representative Payee Services.