Guardianship for Developmentally Disabled Individuals
Guardian of the Person and Guardian of the Estate
The Mental Health Code allows for a guardian of a developmentally disabled individual to be guardian of the person, guardian of the estate, or both. A guardian of the person has responsibility and authority over the care and custody of the individual. A guardian of the estate has responsibility and authority over the money and other property of the individual.
Petition of Appointment of Guardianship for Developmentally Disabled Individual
Pursuant to the Mental Health Code, under certain circumstances the Probate Court may appoint a guardian for a developmentally disabled individual. In order to ask the Court for a guardian of a developmentally disabled individual you must complete a Petition for Appointment of Guardian, Individual with Alleged Developmental Disability and file it with the Court. There is no filing fee. If you have questions about filling out the Petition you can read Instructions for completing the Petition, which is located on the bottom of the Petition for Appointment of Guardian, Individual with Alleged Developmental Disability.
By the time your Petition is heard by the Court, a Report to Accompany Petition to Appoint, Modify or Discharge Guardian of Individual with Developmental Disability must have been filed with the Court. The report form covers six factors (mental, physical, social, educational, adaptive behavior, and social skills) and must be completed by one of the professionals making an assessment of the individual. Each of the six factors is covered in evaluations appended to the form. If a completed report form and evaluations do not accompany your petition when you file it, the Court will order Community Mental Health to perform the mental, social, educational, adaptive behavior, and social skills evaluations. However, you must secure a recent physical examination of the individual and this must accompany your Petition when you file it. An example of report form covering all of the necessary elements of a physical exam is provided here.
After filing the Petition for Guardianship, a hearing date will be set by the Probate Court and then following must be done prior to the hearing:
- Serve the Notice of the Hearing on your Petition for Guardianship, along with a copy of the filed Petition for Guardianship to all interested persons (including publishing notice on any interested person whose whereabouts are unknown);
- Must file a Proof of Service indicating you have informed interested parties of the hearing and the Petition for Guardianship in a timely manner (including publishing notice on any interested person whose whereabouts are unknown).
- Both the original Notice of Hearing and Proof of Service will need to be filed with the Probate Court prior to the hearing date.