Welcome to the Rethinking Guardianship: Building a Case for Less Restrictive Alternatives initiative website.

Exploring Alternatives to Guardianship in North Carolina

Here you can find information to help make informed decisions about adult guardianship and alternatives to guardianship. Adult guardianship is a legal process that exists to protect our most vulnerable citizens, including people who have intellectual and developmental disabilities, mental health conditions, traumatic brain injury, youth in foster care, and vulnerable older adults. But too often guardianship takes away people’s right to make the most basic decisions for themselves—such as where they will live and what they will do in the course of a day.

Family, Friends, and Community Supports: Informal and Formal

- A system of support for an individual in various areas of their life, and/or A written plan identifies individuals to assist in key areas of life, such as financial, health/medical, and daily living.

Joint Bank Account

- An account that allows another person to help pay bills and manage money. Check with your financial institution.

ABLE Account

- A tax-advantaged savings account for disability expenses

Representative Payee for Social Security Benefits

- Provides financial management of Social Security benefits.

Fiduciary for Veteran’s Benefits

- Provides financial management of VA pension benefits.

Foster Care 18-21 / NC Links Independent Living Services

- Continued supportive and financial services for young adults aging out of foster care at age 18.

Power of Attorney (Durable/General)

- A legal document giving someone the right to conduct financial business on behalf of someone else without a court order.

Health Care Power of Attorney

- A legal document giving someone the right to make health care decisions on behalf of someone else.

Living Will or Advance Directive

- A legal document that sets out an individual’s desires for medical care and treatment when they can no longer communicate and are near the end of life.

Advance Instruction for Mental Health Treatment

- A legal document in which an individual indicates what treatment and care for mental health conditions they want in the event that they are unable to communicate their wishes.

Living Trust

- A legal arrangement for an individual who is having difficulty managing property or assets themselves.

Special Needs Trust

- A legal arrangement that allows an individual who has a disability to preserve assets while maintaining eligibility for government benefits.

We hope that you find this site to be a valuable resource. If you have suggestions for improvements or additional resources, please send us a note at the Contact Us page.