Division of Disability and Aging Services | Blog

Division of Disability and Aging Services

A guardian is a person with the legal responsibility to protect the well-being and rights of another. A guardian also has authority to make certain legal decisions for the person.

Parents are deemed to be the guardians of their biological children under age 18. A parent who adopts a child becomes the guardian of the adopted child. A parent may voluntarily relinquish guardianship of a child under age 18 and grant guardianship to another adult.

Upon turning age 18 all Vermonters are presumed to be competent to make their own decisions and to have a right of self-determination. A parent is no longer considered the guardian of a child once the child turns 18. Any guardianship for an adult must be authorized by a court.

Most adults with mental disabilities can make decisions for themselves. They may need extra support and time to learn to make decisions. There are many alternatives to guardianship which can provide the protections a person needs. Guardianship should be pursued only as a last resort.