A guardianship is a legal proceeding to help an elderly or incapacitated person who is unable to act for themselves. The Guardian is appointed by the Court to make financial and health care decisions on behalf of the Ward. When a disabled child reaches his or her majority (age eighteen), a guardianship is usually required to allow the parent(s) to continue to make health care decisions for the child and to have access to the child's medical records.

The authority of the Guardian is controlled by Court order. The Court will order a guardianship only to the extent necessary, based on the Ward's situation and needs.

There are two types of guardianships:

• a guardianship of the person allows the Guardian to make decisions concerning the physical needs, health care, and general well-being of the Ward.

• a guardianship of the estate permits and requires the Guardian to manage the financial affairs of the Ward.

It is not unusual for the same individual to serve in both capacities as the guardian of the person and the guardian of the estate.