When an adult becomes unable to make responsible decisions, then that adult may be in need of a guardian, conservator, or other alternative. The Estates and Protected Individuals Code states that a guardian may be appointed if a court determines that a person is an incapacitated individual [MCL 700.5303, et. seq.]. The law defines an incapacitated individual as "...one who is impaired by reason of mental illness, mental deficiency, physical illness or disability, chronic use of drugs, chronic intoxication, or other cause, not including minority, to the extent of lacking sufficient understanding or capacity to make or communicate informed decisions." [MCL 700.1105(a)]
Prior to the filing of a guardianship petition, the petitioner should review Alternatives to Full Guardianship (PDF) which contains information regarding a limited guardian, conservator, patient advocate designation, do-not-resuscitate declaration, or durable power of attorney with or without limitations on purpose, authority, or time period, and an explanation of each alternative.
Montcalm County does not have a "public" guardian to appoint in this type of case. If filing a Petition for Guardianship, you must submit the name of a proposed guardian.
When a guardianship petition is filed, the court will appoint a guardian ad litem (unless the allegedly incapacitated individual has legal counsel of his or her own choice) to investigate the situation and make a recommendation to the court prior to the hearing. A guardian ad litem is a local attorney appointed by the court to represent the interests of the alleged incapacitated individual. The guardian ad litem will not act on behalf of the petitioner. This guardian ad litem will charge for his/her services and those fees are payable by the ward or his/her family.
In the event the individual states to the guardian ad litem that they wish to be present for the hearing, it is the responsibility of the petitioner to see that they have transportation to the Court. If the petitioner fails to provide said transportation, the hearing will be adjourned until a later date.
- Starting an Adult Guardianship Case
- Annual Reporting
- When may a guardianship be terminated?