CUT AND PASTED From a MHLAC so need to update/change
A guardianship is a relationship where one person (the guardian) is appointed by the court to make decisions for another person. A guardian may be appointed for a minor when the parents are deceased or incapacitated, or for an incapacitated adult. The types of decisions a guardian can make depend on the guardianship order. If the guardianship is plenary (also called full or general), the Incapacitated Person no longer has the authority to make decisions about his or her own healthcare, support, education and welfare. A limited guardianship, however, may allow the Incapacitated Person to participate in decision making to the extent they are able. A limited guardianship can be limited to certain decisions, such as medical decisions, or decisions about where the person will live, and the incapacitated person retains decision making power in all other areas not included in the guardianship. Under Massachusetts law, all guardianship should be limited to the extent possible.1 The court and physician completing the paperwork for a guardianship must consider limits on the guardianship based on the specific strengths and deficits of the Incapacitated Person to preserve the rights of the Incapacitated Person in specific areas.2 A guardian must take into account the preferences of the incapacitated person by following the incapacitated person’s express values and desires.3 A guardian must consider the best interests of the incapacitated person when making such decisions because they are a fiduciary.4 In making the guardianship order the court shall encourage the self-reliance and independence of the incapacitated person while taking into account the person’s limitations.5 If the guardianship is ultimately granted, the guardian reports to the court annually about the incapacitated person The authority of a guardian differs from a conservator in that a conservator makes legal decisions about a person’s property and financial matters. .