Risk Analysis of Principals and Adult Guardians

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  • Title: Risk Analysis of Principals and Adult Guardians: Japan’s Adult Guardianship System and Its Practice
  • Author(s): Yukio Sakurai
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: Aging & Social Change
  • Journal Title: The Journal of Aging and Social Change
  • Keywords: Adult Guardianship System, Risk, Risk–Benefit Analysis, Dignity of Risk
  • Volume: 14
  • Issue: 1
  • Date: January 10, 2024
  • ISSN: 2576-5310 (Print)
  • ISSN: 2576-5329 (Online)
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.18848/2576-5310/CGP/v14i01/31-45
  • Citation: Sakurai, Yukio . 2024. "Risk Analysis of Principals and Adult Guardians: Japan’s Adult Guardianship System and Its Practice." The Journal of Aging and Social Change 14 (1): 31-45. doi:10.18848/2576-5310/CGP/v14i01/31-45.
  • Extent: 15 pages

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It is recognized that adult guardianship practice, including statutory and voluntary guardianship, results in unexpected social risks. Some risks may cause serious financial damages to principals and should not be overlooked. In this article, risks that may typically arise from the adult guardianship system are summarized in four types for the principal and for the adult guardian. First, there have been a number of incidents where the adult guardian embezzled the proceeds from the principal’s property. Second, there are no clear guidelines on how to respect the principal’s intention. Third, the voluntary guardian might maintain the agency contract to continue receiving remuneration and possibly misuse the authority to intercept the principal’s property. The principal bears these three risks. Fourth, as a quasi-supervisor, an adult guardian may be liable for damages to third parties caused by the principal. The adult guardian bears this risk. Clarifications of adult guardianship policies can be concluded in a risk–benefit comparison analysis: (1) to ensure safeguards that will reduce each systemic risk as much as possible and (2) to shift from an informal arrangement to the adult guardianship system or its alternatives in order to legally protect the principal, provided the principal or relevant persons so wish. Dignity of risk or risk enablement is the idea of positively taking risk within established safeguards, but this requires people’s understanding and further practices and research for proper application.