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Alternatives to Guardianship

WHAT ARE THE ALTERNATIVES TO GUARDIANSHIP - Information presented by Zia Trust

Go to Helpful Documents to view Alternatives to Guardianship forms.

Guardianship removes considerable rights, and should only be considered after alternatives have proven ineffective or unavailable.The legal processes are complicated and can lead to overstepping and family fights, and you are strongly encouraged to get expert help.

The following outlines some basic information related to some common alternatives to guardianship:

  • a Power of Attorney (POA) is an alternative while the person is still capable and they understand what they are signing.
    • “Durable” means it is still good once person is incapacitated.
    • “Springing” means it is only good once person is incapacitated.
    • the POA can be broad or specific.
    • the POA must be notarized, and it is best if prepared by an attorney working for the person.
  • Representative Payee - Social Security's Representative Payment Program provides financial management for the Social Security and SSI payments of beneficiaries who are incapable of managing their Social Security or SSI payments.Generally, they look for family or friends to serve in this capacity.When friends and family are not able to serve as payee, Social Security looks for qualified organizations to be a representative payee.
  • Informal arrangements with family members
  • Surrogate Decision-maker related to health-care:
    • you may designate any individual to act as surrogate by personally informing the health care provider.
    • the following in descending order of priority:
      • spouse, unless pending petition for divorce, etc.
      • an individual in a long-term relationship of indefinite duration similar to the commitment of a spouse, and the individual and the patient consider themselves to be responsible for each other's well-being;
      • adult child, parent, adult brother/sister, grandparent;
      • an adult who has exhibited special care and concern for the patient, who is familiar with the patient's personal values.