How the guardian advocate process differs from the other options
- The guardian advocate process was created specifically for individuals with developmental disabilities unlike the guardianship process. Because of this, the guardian advocate process is shorter and simpler compared to the guardianship process (but is more complicated than the estate planning process).
- The guardian advocate process requires the adult with developmental disabilities to have previously been diagnosed with a learning disability prior to turning 18 years old. Unlike the guardianship process, the adult with developmental disabilities is not evaluated by three experts.
- The guardian advocate process does not require the adult with developmental disabilities to be found "incapacitated" by the court.
- Like the guardianship process, a lawyer will be assigned to the adult with developmental disabilities if they don't have their own. The process requires a court hearing before a judge to determine if the adult with developmental disabilities lacks decision making ability, and if so, in what areas.
- If the judge finds that the adult with developmental disabilities lacks decision making ability for one or more rights, the court will remove those rights and appoint a guardian advocate to exercise the rights and make all related decisions for the adult.
- The rights that can be removed are the rights to: marry, vote, personally apply for governmental benefits, decide where to live, manage property, and make decisions about the adult's social environment or other social aspects of their life.