What are the steps of the Guardianship process?
Before starting any legal proceedings a report must be obtained that certifies that the person has a disability, and because of that disability, needs a guardian. The requirements of the content of the report vary greatly. The report should focus on the functional abilities of the person. At a minimum the report should:

provide a description of the nature and type of disability and an explanation of how that disability impacts the individual's decision making;
offer an analysis and results of evaluations of the individual's mental and physical condition, educational level, adaptive behavior and social skills as appropriate;
state an opinion about the need for guardianship, and provide supporting reasons for this opinion; and
recommend suitable living arrangements and treatment or habilitation plans.
This report should accurate reflect the skills and abilities of the person as well as the deficits and problems. Finally the report must be signed by all involved in the evaluation. Two Physician's or Psychologist's Certificates must also accompany the evaluation. The report must be timely and meet a time frame that is usually stated in the statute

A petition, which is the official request for the appointment of a guardian, will be prepared and signed by someone alleging incapacity, and the need for guardianship; it is then filed.

A hearing date will be set and usually a Summons is served. The summons is the official notice to the person with disabilities about guardianship proceedings, the time, and place.

Notice of the date, time and place of the guardianship proceedings is given to any interested parties, family members, proposed guardian, etc., in order that they can be present at the hearing if they choose.

A hearing will be held and evidence presented about the need for guardianship. The potential ward is usually represented by an attorney during the hearing process. Although, at times, the hearing may seem to be quite informal, this is an adversarial process and the petitioner must clearly demonstrate to the court that the individual needs a guardian of some sort.

The above includes very broad and general descriptions. During the appointment proceedings of a guardian the alleged disable person has specific due process rights that are enumerated in the various state laws. Although an attorney may not be required to establish guardianship in some areas, this is a legal process. It may be best to consult an attorney familiar with guardianship proceedings and disability.

Show All Answers

1. What is a Guardian?
2. Who may have a Guardian appointed to manage his/her affairs?
3. How does one assess that a person may be in need of a Guardian?
4. What are the steps of the Guardianship process?
5. Can Guardianship be used in the case of an emergency?
6. Are Living Wills, Powers of Attorney, Surrogate Decision Makers other alternatives to Guardianship?
7. Who can act as a guardian?
8. What are the different types of guardianship available?
9. How long does the Guardianship process take?
10. Does guardianship ever end?