The Listen to Lawrence Letter: Do parents need to have a guardianship for their adult child with special needs?

April 13, 2022
Dear Clients and Friends,
Having a child with developmental disabilities presents challenges that don’t stop when they become adults, as
brought out by the following client question:
I have a question regarding guardianship. My husband and I have a 31-year-old son who has Down’s Syndrome and lives with us. He attends a day program. We are considering moving him to a group home in the near future.  He is not competent to make his own major decisions. We do not have guardianship – do we need it?  Thanks for your advice.
My answer is YES! Once your children reach the age of 18, you no longer have legal authority over them. That means you have no authority over their personal, financial, and medical decisions. The only way for you to get that legal authority is to go to court and become their legal guardian. In these types of guardianship cases, we go to the Surrogates Court to obtain what is called a 17A Guardianship. It is usually not that complicated and we have an attorney in our firm that can help you.
I hope this helps! Please forward this information to your friends and relatives to share these informative answers to some very commonly asked questions.
And, if anyone you know would like to receive this
Listen to Lawrence Letter, just have them email me at and I’ll add them to the list!
As always, please send me your questions. If you are thinking about it, others are probably too, so my answers will no doubt help you and many others.
Let’s stay connected.
Stay safe!
Until next time,
peace, health and happiness,
Lawrence Eric Davidow