November 17, 2015

Guardianship – What you need to know

The appointment of a Guardian is a legal process that is managed by Probate Court and governed by the laws of the State of Michigan. The appointment of a Guardian is a serious intervention in a person’s life and results in the loss of their rights to manage their own life. It should be considered a last resort, after all less restrictive options for managing the situation have been exhausted. See our Money Management Service to explore the less restrictive and preventative services we provide.


  • The Court requires a petition to be filed requesting that a Guardian be appointed for the individual for whom guardianship is being requested.
  • After the petition is filed, the Court usually appoints a Guardian Ad Litem, which is an independent attorney whose job it is to be an investigator for the court and to represent the best interests of the prospective “protected individual.”
  • The Court process usually requires a medical and psychological assessment of the prospective protected person and there are reports and testimony about that individuals capabilities and deficiencies in open court.
  • Court testimony about the individual’s capabilities and deficiencies is often required from family, friends and care givers.
  • This process, while necessary to ensure an individual’s rights, is always difficult and usually traumatic for the prospective protected person and their family.
  • If the Court finds that a guardian is warranted, an appointment is made and the individual is adjudicated to be “a protected individual that is legally incapacitated.” This action limits their legal rights to make decisions regarding their life and the appointed Guardian is granted the authority to make these decisions for them. Preferably, with them.
  • The Courts monitor guardianship appointments and require annual, or more frequent, reports. The Court may review or change the appointment of a Guardian at the request of the protected person, the Guardian Ad litem, or others.
  • The Courts may terminate guardianship upon evidence that the conditions of which required it have changed enough so that the protected individual can again manage on their own.