A parallel can be drawn between guardianship and intestacy (distribution of property after death without a will): both result from failure to plan, and both involve massive intervention in individual affairs. But with guardianship, more than property is at stake: the fabric of later life, its potential creativity, and personal autonomy at its close hang in the balance. Advocates therefore must encourage the use of tools to plan ahead and restrictions on unnecessary intrusion. And legal tools will be of greatest use if accompanied by a solid array of support services. With persistence and imagination, we can scale back the inappropriate use of guardianship for older persons.
Publication Date: 1990