Legal Information

Petitioning for Guardianship

When a person is unable to make decisions for himself, whether it be health care or financial decisions, someone needs to assume responsibility for that persons' affairs. If no one has the legal authority to act, for instance, if there is no agent appointed under a durable power of attorney or health care proxy, then the court is asked to appoint a legal guardian.

A guardian is appointed through a legal process that is initiated by the filing of a petition for guardianship which sets out the purported management needs of the alleged incapacitated person which have not been adequately addressed. The person must be notified that a petition has been filed with the court; the person has the right to participate in the guardianship process including the public hearing and may be entitled to a court appointed attorney if they are unable to afford to hire an attorney.

After reviewing information received and testimony given, the judge will make the final determination as to the nature and extent of the person's incapacities and needs, and will conclude by naming the guardian and authorizing the guardian to provide the necessary assistance and support.