State statutes define mental and physical disability. However, generally, such disability or incapacity involves severe and long-term conditions that impose great limitations upon individuals’ ability to take care of themselves, express themselves verbally, earn a living, and live independently of the care of others. Such a disability also reflects the necessity for a combination of treatments and services.
Guardianships for physically or mentally disabled or incapacitated persons have, in recent decades, been understood to facilitate the independence and self-reliance of the ward. They are limited as much as is reasonable in order to allow wards to exercise as much control over their lives as possible while maintaining as much dignity and self-reliance as possible. The desires of the wards are given primary consideration. Also, wards are allowed to do as much of their own care giving as is physically and mentally possible.
The guardian will be granted only those powers necessary to accomplish for the ward what the ward cannot accomplish independently. These powers may include assuring the availability and maintenance of care for the ward, making sure that educational and medical services are maintained and adequate, and submitting updates to the court of the ward’s condition. These court updates describe the ward’s living situation, status of mental and physical health based upon medical examinations and official records, provide a list of services being received by the ward, describe services rendered by the guardian, account for the ward’s monetary assets, and any other information necessary to submit to the court in order for it to assess the status of the ward and the guardian’s duties.