A guardianship is a legal document that gives you the right to make legal decisions for another person. You may have created it as part of your will concerning your minor children.

There may come a time, however, where you may need legal guardianship over an adult. What does this legal right afford, and is it something that you need to start considering for a loved one?

When your parent can no longer make decisions

One scenario that may have you seeking a guardianship under Delaware law is for an aging parent. If there comes a point when one or both of your parents is no longer competent to make sound decisions, a guardianship helps you protect them. The action requires medical proof that your parent is suffering from an illness that makes it difficult for him or her to make competent decisions. Examples include conditions such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

When your adult child needs care

Children reach adulthood and legally become adults at age 18. However, what about those with mental or physical limitations? When a child turns 18, it may become necessary to seek legal guardianship through the court, even though you are the parent. It is important to note that while you can make provisions in a will for custody of minor children, you cannot do the same for adult children who need care. Once you successfully get guardianship of an adult child, you should prepare the appropriate estate planning documents to plan for their continued care after your death.

Seeking to take control of a loved one’s legal interests may involve a court process. Make sure you get all paperwork from medical providers so you can present the evidence with your petition.