Securing Futures: 4 Types of Guardianship in Idaho

In Idaho, there are four types of court appointed guardianships. Each type has a specific purpose, and understanding the differences can help you better navigate the process. Idaho law recognizes four significant types of guardianship, namely, temporary guardianship, minor guardianship, developmental disability guardianship, and guardianship for incapacity, each designed to address specific circumstances and needs.

 Understanding the 4 Types of Guardianship

Temporary Guardianship:

Temporary guardianship, also referred to as emergency guardianship, can be granted by the court when needed to protect health, safety, or welfare of a person until a guardianship petition can be heard by the court. The Idaho statutes that explain this type of guardianship can be found in Idaho Code § 15-5-207(5) and Idaho Code § 15-5-310, and Idaho Code § 66-404A.

In situations demanding urgent care and decision-making for an individual, temporary guardianship plays a crucial role. It arises when an individual faces imminent danger or needs immediate care due to unforeseen circumstances. This form of guardianship grants a designated guardian the authority to make decisions for the well-being of the individual for a limited period, ensuring their safety and immediate needs are met.

For instance, consider a scenario where a special needs individual’s primary caregiver, who holds legal guardianship, faces a sudden medical emergency. Temporary guardianship allows another trusted individual to step in and fulfill the essential responsibilities, ensuring continuity of care and support during the primary guardian’s absence. It is a vital tool to bridge the gap and maintain stability in challenging situations, safeguarding the individual until a permanent arrangement is established.

Furthermore, temporary guardianship might also be necessary when a legal process for establishing permanent guardianship is ongoing. This interim measure ensures the individual’s well-being is not compromised while the legal proceedings continue. Temporary guardianship offers a safety net during unforeseen crises and transitions.

Minor Guardianship:

Minor guardianships are granted when a person under the age of 18 does not have a parent who is able to care for them. This is frequently due to the death of the parents, but may also be granted when the parents are incarcerated or in some other way unable to care for their child. The Idaho statute that explains this type of guardianship can be found in Idaho Code § 15-5-201 et seq.

In situations where a minor child requires guardianship, minor guardianship steps in to provide essential care and decision-making support. This type of guardianship enables an appointed guardian to make decisions regarding the child’s education, healthcare, and overall welfare until they reach the age of legal adulthood.

Minor guardianship extends beyond the immediate care of the child; it encompasses the responsibility of making crucial decisions aligned with the child’s long-term well-being.

Guardanship for Developmental Disability:

Developmental disability guardianship may be granted for adults who have a chronic disability before the age of 22. There are specific criteria that must be met for a person to qualify for guardianship in this area, specifically:

  • The chronic disability must be attributed to an impairment, such as intellectual disability, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, autism, or other condition found to be closely related to or similar to one of these impairments that requires similar treatment or services, or is attributable to dyslexia resulting from such impairments; and
  • Results in substantial functional limitations in 3 or more of the following areas of major life activity:
    • self-care,
    • receptive and expressive language,
    • learning,
    • mobility,
    • self-direction,
    • capacity for independent living, or
    • economic self-sufficiency; and
  • Reflects the need for a combination and sequence of special, interdisciplinary or generic care, treatment or other services that are of lifelong or extended duration and individually planned and coordinated.

The definition of “developmental disability” can be found in Idaho Code § 66-402(5). The Idaho statutes that explain this type of guardianship can be found in Idaho Code § 66-401 et seq.

This specialized form of guardianship caters to individuals facing developmental disabilities, ensuring their specific needs and challenges are addressed comprehensively. It involves appointing a guardian who undertakes the responsibility of making decisions regarding healthcare, living arrangements, and other vital aspects of life. The primary aim is to ensure that the individual’s unique requirements are met with empathy and tailored support.

For instance, consider a person with a developmental disability who requires ongoing medical treatments, specialized therapies, and assistance with daily living activities. Developmental disability guardianship empowers the appointed guardian to advocate for and make decisions that prioritize the individual’s health, well-being, and quality of life. It involves a deep understanding of the individual’s specific needs to provide optimal care and support.

Moreover, this guardianship type emphasizes a personalized approach, recognizing that individuals with developmental disabilities have diverse needs and preferences. It requires a guardian who is attuned to the individual’s abilities, challenges, and aspirations, ensuring that decisions made align with their best interests while respecting their autonomy to the greatest extent possible.

Not every person with developmental disabilities requires guardianship, but if they need consistent support to make safe decisions, this option is available.

Guardianship for Incapacity:

Guardianship for incapacity is granted for adults who are considered impaired to the extent they lack sufficient understanding or capacity to make or communicate responsible decisions. The Idaho statutes that defines incapacity can be found in Idaho Code § 15-5-101. The Idaho statutes that explain this type of guardianship can be found in Idaho Code § 15-5-301 et seq.

When an individual faces challenges that render them incapable of making informed decisions about their well-being or financial matters, guardianship for incapacity becomes crucial. This situation might arise due to aging, illness, or other circumstances that impair their decision-making abilities. In such cases, a designated guardian steps in to make decisions on behalf of the incapacitated person, ensuring their interests are protected.

For example, an elderly individual diagnosed with a degenerative condition that affects their cognitive abilities may require a guardian to manage their finances, healthcare decisions, and daily living arrangements. Guardianship for incapacity allows the appointed guardian to act in the individual’s best interests, ensuring their safety, dignity, and quality of life are maintained.

Navigating guardianship for incapacity requires careful consideration of the individual’s specific needs and preferences. It involves making decisions that align with their previously expressed wishes, values, and best interests. This guardianship type aims to provide the necessary support and protection for individuals facing challenges that hinder their ability to make independent decisions.

Next Steps:

If you have a loved one in Idaho that may benefit from any of these types of guardianship, it is important that you consult an attorney that specializes in helping you navigate the process. If you would like our help, please reach out by visiting our website, or giving us a call.