Protecting Your Rights
What is this training about?
This training will help you learn:
What a guardian does.
How a guardian is chosen.
How to end a guardianship.
How to protect your rights.
What is a guardian?
Guardian: A person that has the legal
right to make some choices for another
Conservator: The person that has the
legal right to make choices about money
for another person.
►►Because the same person is
often the guardian and the conservator,
this training uses the word guardian to
Why have a guardian?
A guardian may help:
Make important decisions
Protect a person’s rights
Why not have a guardian?
A guardian may not help because a
Take away independence
Hurt the person
Make bad decisions
Make the person feel bad or angry
How can I not have a
A person may not need a guardian if
the person shows that he or she can
get help in other ways.
►►What are some other ways a
person can get help?◄◄
What are other ways to get
Other ways to get help making choices
Have a representative payee to help
spend Social Security money.
Have another person, a co-signer, to help
spend money in a joint bank account.
Use a trust and a trustee.
Use a team or a support person to set up
a plan to help pay bills.
Other ways to get help (cont.)
Other ways to get help making
choices about health and safety:
Have someone help you with applying for
Medicaid or Social Security.
Choose someone to make medical
choices for you.
Use a team or a support person to help
you make choices.
How is a guardian chosen?
Idaho has a law that gives the rules on how a
guardian is chosen. The law, the DD Act says
that a person with a disability:
➜ does not have to have a guardian.
➜ should be as independent as possible.
➜ should take part in decisions.
➜ should learn new skills.
➜ must have his or her rights protected.
The DD Act says that 5 things must happen
before a guardian can be appointed.
Step 1: Paperwork is given to the court
Step 2: A lawyer is chosen for the person
Step 3: Evaluations are done.
Step 4: A hearing is held.
Step 5: The judge signs an order.
Step 1: Filing paperwork
Any person can ask a judge to decide
if a person needs a guardian.
This person brings papers (called a
petition) to the courthouse.
The person must give copies of the
papers to the person with a disability.
Step 2: Choosing a lawyer
A lawyer will be chosen for the person.
The person can also choose his or her
The lawyer must learn what the
person wants and tell this to the court.
Step 3: Getting Information
The judge will ask an “evaluation committee,”
to visit the person.
The evaluation committee includes:
A social worker
A medical doctor
A psychologist or person trained
Step 3 (cont.)
The Evaluation Committee writes a report
to the judge. The report must say:
➜ If the person needs a guardian.
➜ What the person does not need help with.
➜ What the person does need help with.
➜ If the guardian will do a good job.
Step 4: Having a Hearing
The judge will have a meeting at the
courthouse, called a hearing.
At the hearing, the judge will listen to
people talk about if the person needs a
What the judge listens to and reads at the
hearing is called evidence.
►►The person can also ask other
people to give evidence at the hearing.◄◄
Step 5: Making a Decision
The judge will:
Decide if the person needs a guardian.
Decide what the guardian can do.
Sign papers that say what the judge
►►The person must get a copy of the
papers, called the “Letters of
What can a guardian do?
The judge will decide what choices the
guardian can make for the person.
A full guardian has the right to make
many choices for a person.
A partial guardian can only make the
choices that the papers, or the Letters
of Guardianship, say.
What can a full guardian do?
A full guardian can make decisions
work or school
What can a partial guardian
A partial guardian can only make the
choices that the judge allows.
►►It is important to know what
choices a partial guardian can and
Can the guardianship be
Does a guardianship have to last forever?
A person can ask the judge to:
End the guardianship
Limit the decisions the guardian makes
Choose a new guardian
The person or any friend can file
papers with the court to ask the judge
to change the guardianship.
►►The lawyer chosen for the person
earlier can help change the guardianship
Step 1: File paperwork with the court.
Step 2: Have a new evaluation or give the court
Step 3: Have a new hearing.
Step 4: Get a new order from the judge.
►►To end the guardianship, you should
have new tests that say that you can make safe
choices by yourself.◄◄
Does a person have rights
under a guardianship?
All people should be
dignity whether or
not they have a
Dignity means having:
Self-determination is important for all.
At the hearing, the person has a right
Have a lawyer.
Have the judge know what the person
Ask people questions.
Bring people to talk about what the
person can do.
Even with a guardian, people have
rights, such as the right to:
Be safe from harm
Get information about themselves
Say what they think
Get married or divorced
Keep information private
Make as many choices as possible
Have their things and money kept safe
►►Being a self-advocate means telling
someone if you are denied your rights.◄◄
DISABILITY RIGHTS IDAHO
IDAHO COUNCIL ON
This training was funded in part by the
Administration on Developmental
The information does not necessarily
reflect the views of that agency
This training is not meant to be legal