Guardianship of an Incapacitated Person

Guardianship of an Incapacitated Person (or “adult guardianship”) occurs after a judicial determination that a person lacks sufficient capacity to make or communicate responsible decisions. These determinations are made by formal petition to the Probate Court in the county which the person resides. If the Probate Court finds that the person is incapacitated and a substitute decision-maker is necessary or desirable as a means of providing continuing care and supervision, a guardian will be appointed. If the State is appointed, it is referred to as a “public guardianship.” Any other guardianship appointment, such as a parent or friend, is referred to as a “private guardianship.” Persons facing a potential guardianship order are entitled to a court appointed attorney and  each order should be limited only to the extent necessitated by the person’s actual mental and adaptive limitations. Any persons under guardianship are also entitled to a court appointed attorney and may petition to end the guardianship by informal letter to the court.