“Our son’s life was going along smoothly and when he turned 22 he fell in love for the first time. He fell hard and unfortunately, the woman he loved found out that he received a social security benefit and decided that our son would become her meal ticket. The next thing we knew he was moving out, shacking up with a woman he had known for 2 weeks and she wanted to become his representative payee. Three weeks into their love affair they announced that they planned to get married and moving to Mexico. We contacted APS, Adult Protective Services, to see if they could help with this situation. Unfortunately, because we were not legal guardians and because our son presented well, APS would not open a case. Next was the news that our son had become a mule for drug deliveries…it went from bad to worse and then real scary. In the end we made this drug dealers life miserable and she dropped out son back off to look for an easier target.”
In what ways could a guardianship help with this unfortunate situation?
When guardianship is pursued there are several rights that can be blocked. One of those is the right to marry. In the above case, if this couple had gotten married, the legal guardians would have been able to annul the marriage.
Even if the parent was legal guardian, they would not be able to force the young man to live with them. Just like you and I our loved ones have the right to make decisions that are not always in their best interest. Scrapped Knees and Broken Hearts, hard to watch but it’s their right!
An alternative to guardianship that helped in this case was the fact that parent was the Social Security representative payee. This blocked the predator from getting her hands on the young man’s financial benefits. She was able to use the budgeted amount that the payee gave him for food and living expenses but nothing more. Not 100% protection but it’s a start.
Although guardianship is far from the least restrictive option, sometimes it’s the best option for now. Guardianship doesn’t have to be forever and can be revoked when our loved ones have developed the skills needed to assist with daily living skills and safe decision making.
RESOURCE: Informing Families Building Trust is a wonderful resource for families considering guardianship. Click on their menu bar and you will see an entire section dedicated to guardianship. There are several short clips full of helpful information. Check it out – it’s FREE!