A guardian must use what is called substituted judgment when they make decisions. This means they make decisions that are as close as possible to what the person would have done if they could make their own decisions.
If a guardian is not sure what the person would have done, they should decide based on the best interests of the person. They should also consider the person's religious and moral views.
Guardianship of the person
Guardianship of the person means that the guardian makes decisions for the person. This includes decisions about their:
- Medical treatment
- Living arrangement
- Professional services
Guardianship of the estate
Guardianship of the estate also means that the guardian makes decisions for the person with a disability. This includes decisions about their money and property. If the person has any real estate or has assets over $10,000, the guardian must have guardianship of the estate to make decisions.
A representative payeeship allows the Social Security Administration, also known as the SSA, to choose a payee to handle a disabled person's:
- Social Security payments
- If the disabled person only has social security benefits and a payee has been chosen, a Guardianship of the Estate is not needed.
Visit the SSA's website for more information about representative payees.
Updated: January 2017