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Guardianship is a legal relationship that can strip an older adult of their fundamental rights and decision-making authority over most aspects of their lives, including their finances.

For older adults of color, LGBTQ+ older adults, and older adults from other marginalized communities, guardianship raises additional and unique concerns. Adults who have experienced a lifetime of discrimination and inequities may face an increased likelihood of disability, cognitive and physical impairment, poverty, and inadequate healthcare – all factors likely to lead to guardianship. Within the guardianship system itself, marginalized older adults may be in danger of having their unique cultural identity erased.

At Justice in Aging, we believe guardianship should be a mechanism of last resort, that all unnecessary guardianships should be avoided, and that existing guardianships should be limited to the greatest extent possible and terminated as soon as feasible. We are committed to reforming the guardianship system so that each individual is seen as a multifaceted whole whose unique history and culture are acknowledged, protected, and honored within that system.

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