July 24, 2023

Types of Guardianship for Adults: An Overview

Types of Guardianship for Adults: An Overview

Considering adult guardianship and unsure where to begin? Let Devenere Law Collective guide you toward making informed choices.

Are you prepared for the unforeseen twists and turns that life often presents? While we strive to maintain our independence and make our own decisions, circumstances may arise that call for alternative measures. In adult guardianship, senior guardianship takes center stage — a topic of paramount importance that demands our attention. This often-overlooked aspect of life encompasses a range of legal arrangements designed to protect and assist vulnerable adults needing support. 

Understanding the various types of guardianship available is crucial for those directly involved and holds significance for all of us. Whether you're a concerned family member, a compassionate friend, or an individual interested in personal rights, this comprehensive overview will provide you with the knowledge necessary to navigate senior guardianship. 

Let's delve into the intricacies and unveil the empowering possibilities.

Understanding Guardianship

Definition of Guardianship

As mentioned earlier, guardianship is a legal arrangement that grants decision-making authority to a responsible individual, allowing them to act in the best interests of an adult who cannot make such decisions independently due to physical or mental limitations.

Legal Framework and Requirements for Establishing Guardianship

Guardianship laws and requirements vary by jurisdiction but generally involve a legal process that includes filing a petition, providing evidence of incapacity, and obtaining approval from the court.

Guardianship Law - Devenre Law Collectives

Types of Guardianship for Adults

Full Guardianship

 Full guardianship, or plenary guardianship, grants the guardian complete decision-making authority over all aspects of the adult's life, including personal, financial, and healthcare matters.

To establish full guardianship, it must be proven that the adult is fully incapacitated and unable to make decisions independently.

A full guardian is responsible for managing the adult's finances, making healthcare decisions, addressing their personal needs, and providing comprehensive care and protection.

While full guardianship provides extensive authority, it restricts the adult's autonomy and self-determination. Considering the potential impact on the individual's sense of independence and personal choices is crucial.

Limited Guardianship

Limited guardianship is a more tailored approach, granting the guardian decision-making authority only in specific areas where the adult needs assistance while leaving other areas under the adult's control.

Limited guardianship is typically established when the adult has partial incapacity or can make confident decisions independently but requires support in other areas.

Under limited guardianship, the guardian can make decisions in specific domains, such as financial management, medical decisions, or housing arrangements. At the same time, the adult retains decision-making authority in other aspects of their life.

Limited guardianship balances ensuring necessary support and preserving the individual's autonomy. It allows for a more personalized approach that respects the adult's abilities and empowers them to participate in decision-making.

Temporary Guardianship

Temporary guardianship is granted when an adult requires immediate protection and assistance due to an emergency or a temporary incapacity.

Temporary guardianship is time-limited and typically expires after a specified period or when the emergency or temporary incapacity resolves.

A temporary guardian assumes the duties and decision-making authority necessary to safeguard the adult's well-being during the specified period.

Once the temporary guardianship ends, the adult resumes decision-making authority, or alternative arrangements may be made, depending on the individual's needs and circumstances.


Co-guardianship involves the appointment of multiple guardians who share decision-making authority and responsibilities for an adult's care.

Co-guardianship is often established when the needs of the adult are best met through collaboration and cooperation between multiple individuals, such as family members or close friends.

Co-guardians work together to make decisions regarding the adult's well-being, ensuring a collective effort to provide support and meet the individual's needs.

Co-guardianship allows for shared responsibilities, ensuring a broader range of perspectives and support. However, effective communication and cooperation among co-guardians are vital to prevent conflicts and uphold the adult's best interests.

Standby Guardianship

Standby guardianship enables individuals to plan for future contingencies, designating a guardian who will assume responsibility for an adult's care in the event of a specific triggering event, such as the incapacity or death of the current guardian.

Establishing standby guardianship involves legal procedures, documentation, and the court's approval to ensure a smooth transition of authority when the triggering event occurs.

Once the specified event occurs, the standby guardian assumes the role of the primary guardian until the adult's incapacity or the specified period ends. The adult or the court can also terminate standby guardianship.

Standby guardianship offers peace of mind by providing a clear plan for the adult's care in the face of potential future challenges. However, reviewing and updating standby guardianship arrangements periodically is essential to reflect changing circumstances and preferences.

Guardianship Law - Devenre Law Collectives

Voluntary Guardianship

Voluntary guardianship is a mutually agreed-upon arrangement where an adult voluntarily requests the appointment of a guardian to assist with decision-making and care.

Adults may opt for voluntary guardianship when they recognize their limitations or foresee future difficulties in making decisions independently, seeking support and protection through the involvement of a trusted individual.

Establishing voluntary guardianship involves filing the necessary legal documents and obtaining court approval to ensure the adult's well-being and protect their interests.

Voluntary guardianship respects the adult's autonomy by allowing them to participate in decision-making while receiving the necessary support. It fosters a collaborative relationship between the adult and the guardian, promoting the adult's dignity and self-determination.


From full guardianship to limited, temporary, co-guardianship, standby, and voluntary guardianship, a range of options exists to meet the unique needs of individuals requiring senior guardianship.

Understanding the various types of guardianship empowers individuals and families to make informed decisions that prioritize the well-being and autonomy of vulnerable adults.

When navigating the complexities of senior guardianship, it is advisable to consult with legal professionals who specialize in elder law to receive personalized guidance and ensure the protection and best interests of the individuals in need. Contact Devenere Law Collective for further information and guidelines for making an informed decision.

July 24, 2023
Team Devenere
July 24, 2023