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What is a guardianship?

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Hello, everyone. It is Mark, and welcome back. In this video, I want to talk to you about guardianship and explain what the guardianship process involves.

When your loved one turns 18, they get to make their own decisions. If your loved one has a substance use disorder or mental health disorder, or both, those decisions may not seem all that rational. When you look at them objectively and say,

“What on earth is that person doing?”
“Why do they continue to use drugs?”
“Why do they refuse to get treatment for their mental health issue?”

I’ve talked about the Marchman Act, which is a treatment service order The guardianship, which sometimes we do along with the Marchman Act, is much broader in its application. We use it in a number of instances: number one, what happens if there is no substance use or if we cannot prove substance use, but we have a significant mental illness? We can use the guardianship process to get somebody into treatment. So, when it is for an application, I mean it is not just a court order for treatment. What it does is it basically turns the clock back. Let us say your loved one is 25; before they turned 18, you as the parent had the legal right to make decisions because they were not considered old enough to do it themselves. The guardianship process turns that clock back to when they were under 18. As the parent, or a grandparent, or as a spouse, you can be the guardian. It gives you the authority to make decisions that are considered in their best interests, such as treatment decisions, controlling their finances, access to their medical records, limiting their ability to travel by plane and travel to a foreign jurisdiction.

The guardianship process is a much broader application. It’s a little more complicated. My partner is just a fabulous lawyer. She is arguably the best guardianship lawyer in all of South Florida, and she can explain the process to you. Now, as a sort of backstory to this, you may have heard of guardianship being used for elderly people. Before my father passed away, he was clearly having some cognitive issues. The goal would have been basically going into court and getting a court or judge to order us and give us permission, allowing us to make medical decisions for him. If there had been money involved, we could have obviously taken control of the finances and used them in my father’s best interest, such as using it to get him treatment. That is what guardianship has traditionally been used for, but we are not using it for an older person in this instance. Most of our clients are young adults in their 20s, 30s, and perhaps even 40s. We are giving the parents back the authority they lost when their loved one turned 18. It is a real broad application, and in another video, I will talk to you about how you can use Marchman Act and Guardianship together.

With that said, thanks for tuning in. See you in the next video.

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