Guardianships/ Conservatorships

Guardianship may be necessary for either minor children or adults.   A court appointed guardian has the authority to make decisions that affect the person of the incapacitated person (the ward).

Minor children under the age of eighteen (18) may need a guardian if both parents are deceased or unable or unfit to care for the children for any reason.  Any parent who is alive must typically consent to the guardianship of the minor.  The guardianship of a minor terminates when the child reaches age eighteen (18), or when the parent(s) withdraws their consent before the child reaches age eighteen (18).

Adults age eighteen (18) and older may need a guardianship because of an injury or illness, or as a result of the aging process that has left them unable to manage their own personal affairs.   A guardianship is needed when a person lacks sufficient understanding or capacity to make or communicate responsible decisions concerning his/her person.

A petition is filed by the proposed guardian with the court, along with various affidavits.  Fingerprinting of the proposed guardian is required.  In the case of an adult, the court appoints an attorney for the proposed ward, a physician to give a report to the court about the proposed ward, and an investigator to also make a report to the court.  If the reports recommend a guardianship, it is likely that the guardianship will be ordered by the court.

A guardian must file an annual report with the court.