The CYVYC project has compiled information regarding alternatives to guardianship in 50 States and the District of Columbia. You can use this information to learn more about the alternatives to guardianship that are available in your State, how you can use them, and where available, sample forms for creating them. By sharing this information more broadly, we hope that more people will learn about and consider using alternatives to guardianship in their own lives.
For each State, we have reviewed alternatives to guardianship that are recognized by that State’s statutes or regulations. We drew our information about these alternatives from those statutes and regulations, not from secondary sources. For ease of reference, we have categorized alternatives as pertaining to “education,” “health,” “financial,” or “general” decision-making areas. “General” instruments refer to those alternatives that can be applied to one or more of the “education,” “health,” or “financial” categories. Note that State profiles may vary slightly for similar tools. In some cases, variations are due to varying uses of similar terms across States. In other cases, variations may be due to differences in how reviewers interpreted statutory and regulatory provisions. Further, we do not define all key terms used in the statutes and regulations we reviewed. For example, many States’ definitions for “incapacity” vary, as well as the methods for determining “incapacity.” To the extent possible, we have relied on definitions in States’ statutory and regulatory provisions, even if these are not always easy to understand.
Each State profile is not intended to be exhaustive: there are likely other alternatives to guardianship available to you that are not covered here that you may wish to explore. For example, trusts are often described as an alternative to guardianship, but these are not covered here as they are governed primarily by case law rather than statutes. Nor do these profiles include information about representative payees for Supplemental Security Insurance or Medicaid authorized representatives as these are federal programs. Also, these profiles do not describe default States’ various health consent rules where a patient is deemed unable to provide informed consent but has not authorized another to do so, nor do these profiles generally include information about alternatives to guardianship specific to end-of-life decisions. Further, for the purpose of these profiles, non-plenary forms of guardianship, such as limited guardianships or conservatorships, are not considered alternatives to guardianship, even if these may be important less restrictive alternatives to plenary or full guardianship. Finally, these State profiles do not provide information about possible guardianship alternatives that are not formally recognized in State statutes. Thus, informal supported decision-making arrangements, for example, are not described in these State profiles. If you believe that an alternative to guardianship available in your State should be added to your State’s profile, please contact the CYVYC project team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note that this information is subject to change. For example, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused significant, ongoing changes in States’ laws regarding e-notarization and e-signatures for legal documents. This resource does not closely track these changes. Instead, this resource is intended to be used for general reference. Importantly, this resource does not constitute legal advice, and the CYVYC project partners do not guarantee the accuracy of this information. If you wish to alert the CYVYC project partners about an inaccuracy or misstatement, please contact the CYVYC project team at email@example.com.
The CYVYC project would like to give special thanks to Hezzy Smith, Michael Stein, and Holly Boux who worked on this resource on behalf of the Harvard Law School Project on Disability.