ASDs Family Handout—Guardianship
All teens, including teens with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), become adults and their own legal guardians on their 18th birthday. By law, when a person turns 18, her parents are no longer allowed to make medical or legal decisions for her. The only way parents can continue making decisions for their child is to become their adult child's legal guardian. It is best to start the process in a timely manner well before the teen's 18th birthday. A legal guardian usually makes all decisions about the adult child's well-being. Some families may choose to divide decision-making duties between the guardian and a conservator. A conservator takes care of the individual's financial affairs only. When the adult with an ASD can make personal and health decisions but not complex financial ones (especially those relating to Social Security or other governmental funding for daily care), she may need only a conservator.