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Alternatives to Guardianship

Often guardianship is not necessary to meet the needs of an individual who is having difficulty handling his or her personal and financial affairs. There are alternatives that provide supports for the person or for substitute decision making authority in specific areas, and these should be used instead of guardianship whenever possible:

Public Guardianship for Adults Age 60 and Over Who Have a Mental Disability

A Public Guardian may be appointed by the Probate Court for an adult age 60 years and older who has a mental disability if it finds that there is no suitable and willing family member or friend to serve as guardian and the person needs a guardian. Every effort to locate a suitable private guardian must be made before a Public Guardian may be appointed.

Public Guardianship for Adults with Developmental Disabilities

Public guardians acting under court authority, provide guardianship for adults with developmental disabilities. The mission of the program is to assist and empower people under guardianship in making decisions and taking actions in critical life areas.

Public guardians seek to diminish the need for public guardianship by identifying, training and assisting private guardians, by encouraging and preparing individuals to make their own decisions, and by developing supportive community resources.

To be considered for public guardianship, a person must

Office of Public Guardian

The Office of Public Guardian (OPG), acting under court authority, provides public guardianship where there is no friend or family member to serve as guardian, and the individual needs a public guardian to protect his or her rights or welfare.

Vermont law provides public guardianship for:

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