Episode title: Person-Centered Decision-Making:  Options Less Restrictive Than Guardianship

Featured Speakers:

Naomi Karp, JD


Naomi Karp is a consultant on aging, law, and policy for educational, governmental and non-profit clients.  She is a lawyer and policy expert who has worked on aging issues for over 35 years.  Her areas of focus include elder financial exploitation, guardianship, health and financial decision-making, the impact of cognitive changes, and family caregiving.  She is the co-author of the Thinking Ahead Roadmap, a guide and web-based tool to help people keep their money safe as they age.  Her clients include the US Department of Justice, AARP, and the National Center on Elder Abuse.

From 2011 to 2019, Karp was a Senior Policy Analyst at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Office for Older Americans.  At the Bureau, Karp was the team lead for the Managing Someone Else’s Money guides for financial caregivers; a manual for long-term care facilities on protecting residents; and the agency’s work with financial institutions on preventing and responding to elder financial abuse. 

Previously Karp worked on a spectrum of aging issues at the American Bar Association Commission on Law and Aging and at AARP’s Public Policy Institute.  She began her career as a legal services attorney for low-income and older clients. She received her JD from Northeastern University School of Law and her BA from the University of Michigan.

Erica F. Wood, JD


Erica F. Wood served as Assistant Director of the American Bar Association Commission on Law and Aging, and was associated with the Commission from 1980 to 2020, where she worked primarily on issues concerning adult guardianship, health and financial decision-making, legal services delivery, dispute resolution, health and long-term care, and access to court. She has participated in national studies on public guardianship and guardianship monitoring; and played a role in convening national consensus conferences on guardianship. Prior to 1980, she served as staff attorney at Legal Research and Services for the Elderly, National Council of Senior Citizens. Ms. Wood received her B.A. from the University of Michigan and her J.D. from the George Washington University. She has spoken and written on law-related topics concerning older adults for many years. In 2013 she received the Isabella Horton Grant Guardianship Award from the National College of Probate Judges.

Erica Wood currently serves as a member of the Virginia Commonwealth Council on Aging and the Virginia Public Guardian and Conservator Advisory Board. She previously served on the advisory board of the Virginia Public Guardianship and Conservatorship Program.  She has been a member of the Arlington Commission on Aging, and chair of the Arlington Commission on Long-Term Care Residences.  She is interested in aging advocacy and is an active member of the Northern Virginia Aging Network.

About the Podcast:

Two attorneys with expertise in guardianship and alternatives will take us on a journey through the least restrictive methods to remain autonomous in decision making and explore the options available should capacity decline. The series includes two related podcasts. The first podcast (32 minutes) focuses on health care and personal decision-making; and the second podcast (41 minutes) focuses on financial and property decision-making. Both podcasts include an introduction explaining conceptual frameworks for the two kinds of decision-making.

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Resource List:

Consumer Factsheet
Decision-Making Options That Are Less Restrictive Than Guardianship

American Bar Association Commission on Law and Aging, The Health Care Advance Planning Packet, https://www.americanbar.org/groups/law_aging/resources/health_care_decision_making/

  • Tool Kit for Health Care Advance Planning
  • The Multi-State Health Care Power of Attorney Booklet
  • Making Medical Decisions for Someone Else (proxy guide)

American Bar Association Commission on Law and Aging, Mind Your Loved Ones (MYLO) Smartphone App, https://www.americanbar.org/groups/law_aging/resources/health_care_decision_making/mind-your-loved-ones/

National Center for State Courts, Finding the Right Fit: Decision-Making Supports and Guardianship, https://icmelearning.com/eji/resources/EJI-HelpingOthers-Slides-printable.pdf

University of Minnesota and AARP, Thinking Ahead Roadmap: A Guide for Keeping Your Money Safe as You Age, https://thinkingaheadroadmap.org/

U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Managing Someone Else’s Money Guides, https://www.consumerfinance.gov/consumer-tools/managing-someone-elses-money/