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When you first began thinking about becoming a parent, you likely envisioned watching your child grow into an adult who could handle his or her own affairs. You may have anticipated bittersweet moments like having your child live on his or her own for the first time, whether just while off at college or permanently, and just in general believed that your child would become an independent adult.

Of course, it is common for anticipated events to not come, and when your child was born with special needs or it became apparent over the years that your child had special needs, your visions of your child growing into an independent adult may have vanished. Now, you know that you will need to care for your child for the foreseeable future.

What legal steps do you need to take?

If your child is nearing the age of 18, you undoubtedly know that he or she will become a legal adult at that age. However, you also know that your child cannot handle many of the tasks that come along with typical adulthood, so you need to continue managing his or her affairs. As a result, you may need to take legal steps to ensure that you maintain the authority to act on behalf of your child.

Depending on the circumstances, you may need to obtain conservatorship, guardianship or both over your child and his or her affairs. How do you know which one you need to pursue? The following details may help:

  • Conservatorship: If your child cannot handle his or her financial affairs or properly manage assets, you may need to petition the court for conservatorship so you can maintain control over those matters for your child.
  • Guardianship: If your child’s special needs present the need for continual care that you intend to provide, you could need to petition the court for guardianship. Guardianship would give you the ability to manage your child’s everyday needs and care.

These differences may not seem important, but you certainly want to ensure that you have the proper authority to care for your child in every way necessary. If you have the power to handle his or her personal affairs but not the financial matters, you could end up in a difficult position.

Taking the necessary steps

Because you do need to obtain legal authority from the court to become a conservator and/or guardian, you may want to gain information on the documents you need to file and other steps you need to take to complete the process. Fortunately, you can obtain help with this process from an experienced Colorado attorney.