The age of majority changes the structure of the guardianship of an adult over a child. A parent or older adult no longer assumes responsibility for the minor. In cases of special needs adults, they must continue to have guardians who make decisions in their best interests. In Pennsylvania, there are specific rules that connect the age of majority to guardianship.
Age of majority and guardianship
The age of majority is the age of eighteen years old that establishes a minor as an adult. Parents and adult guardians no longer have the right to make legal decisions for that individual. However, this age of majority rule does not fully apply to young adults who have special needs. Their parents must continue to retain guardianship, also known as conservatorship, over their children who lack the mental and intellectual abilities to make decisions on their own. Otherwise, the parents can appoint another guardian to act on their son’s or daughter’s behalf.
Parents must understand the impact of the age of majority when filing for special needs guardianship. This age is set at 18 years old in Pennsylvania. In some states, a disabled adult is allowed to sign important legal documents, such as a power of attorney, to hire other people to act on his or her behalf.
The process of filing for special needs guardianship
When a special needs child reaches the age of majority, he or she becomes an adult but still requires a legally appointed guardian. Every state has a different process for filing for this special type of guardianship. It is important to review the laws in your state for instructions on how to formally appoint a guardian.