When the individual is an adult:  Guardianship is necessary when an individual is unable to manage their own affairs and a court has determined them to be incompetent.  A guardian is appointed by the court to act on their behalf, for the essential requirements of health and safety, the management and protection of the individual’s estate, or both.

A conservatorship is when an individual, who is not found to be incompetent, requests the court appoint someone to manage his estate voluntarily.

When the individual needs placement in a residential care facility or nursing home:  Protective placement means an incompetent individual needs to be placed in a facility that provides for the care and custody of an individual in the least restrictive and/or most integrated setting to ensure needs are met.   Not everyone who is placed under guardianship needs protective placement. 

When the individual is a minor:  Effective August 1, 2020, the laws changed as it applies to minors.  When a guardian is necessary for a minor’s estate, Chapter 54 requirements and laws apply (under the Probate Court).  When a guardian of the person is needed for a minor, Chapter 48 requirements and laws apply (under the Juvenile Court).  You must contact the Clerk of Circuit Court’s office if you wish to petition for the guardianship of the person of a minor. 

The following guidelines are available for review.   Please note these guidelines are provided only as a public service and is not meant to be legal advice.  The Register in Probate office cannot give legal advice and you should contact your attorney if you have legal questions.

Guardianships and Conservatorships

Guardian Fees
A guardian is not entitled to fees for acting as guardian for an individual unless approved by the Court.  A guardianship fee contract guideline outlining the procedures is mailed to each court-appointed guardian upon request.  A Petition for Guardianship Fees is available from the Probate Office or through the link below.

Guardian's Request to Spend Guardianship Funds
Any expenditure of the wards’ funds over $250.00 on a single item (excluding room and board/housing/rent and medical) must have prior approval of the Court.  The Request to Spend Guardianship Funds form is available below or from the Register in Probate office.  The guardian must complete the form and file it with the Register in Probate.  It is beneficial to attach documentation, description, purchase agreement, etc. to support the expenditure.  The guardian will be notified of the Court’s decision.

Completing the Annual Account
Guidelines for completing the annual account are sent to the guardian with the annual accounting forms at in January of each year.  These guidelines can be obtained in person from the Register in Probate office or through this link.  Reminder:  all annual accounts are due April 15.