The first and best alternative to guardianship is good planning. If possible, appoint a Health Care Representative and Durable Power of Attorney well before you ever need help with medical or financial decisions. If making those appointments is no longer an option, Indiana now endorses the use of lesser restrictive alternatives prior to the appointment of a guardian. Those alternatives include but are not limited to, the entry of a supported decision-making agreement; technological assistance; appointment of a representative payee; appointment of a health care representative; or a power of attorney. The goal of any lesser restrictive alternative is to hamper as few rights of the individual as possible.
If an incapacitated person’s needs can be met through any of these alternatives to guardianship then a guardian need not be appointed. However, each individual’s needs and limitations are unique onto themselves there is no bright-line test determining when a lesser restrictive alternative is possible. This is something that you should discuss with your lawyer prior to commencing a guardianship action or when defending against the appointment of a guardian.