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Legal Guardianship

What Is Legal Guardianship?

You might have heard of “legal guardianship” and been unsure about what this term means. A legal guardian is a person who is appointed to make decisions for another person.  Oftentimes, a legal guardian is a member of the person’s family or close friend. In some cases, a family member will seek legal guardianship of an aging relative. This is especially common if the family member is unable to take care of herself or himself.

When seeking guardianship in the state of Michigan, the probate court will appoint someone to oversee the legal decisions that will be made for the person.

Below, we will discuss the process of securing legal guardianship. If you have questions about the process of legal guardianship in Michigan, it is important to speak with a knowledgeable family law attorney.

Petitioning for Guardianship

A family law attorney can help you to file for legal guardianship in certain cases. To begin this process, your lawyer will file a “Petition for Guardianship” through the Michigan probate court.

This petition will detail the reasons that you believe the individual in question needs a guardian. Oftentimes, the person filling out the petition is the one seeking guardianship. However, this is not always the case.

If the court decides to grant the petition, the person assigned as the guardian will have the legal authority and responsibility to make the other person’s legal decisions.

After the filing party’s attorney submits the petition, a hearing will be scheduled. The petitioner must provide notice of the hearing to all interested parties.

The list of interested persons includes:

  • The person named in the petition of guardianship
  • The spouse of the person named
  • Children or parents of the person named
  • Any presumptive heirs of the person named
  • The person’s caregiver
  • The person with custody over the named party
  • The person nominated as guardian (usually the petitioner)

After the petition has been filed, the court will appoint a guardian for the lawsuit. This person is typically an attorney, who will investigate the facts of the case.

This investigator is required to make a recommendation to the court about the need for a guardian. The court may also appoint a mental health professional or medical care provider to examine the person named in the petition.

Guardianship Hearing

During the hearing, the court will review the evidence from the case. This can include relevant documents and witness statements.

If the court decides that the person named in the petition cannot make decisions for themselves, a guardian will be appointed. Following this decision, the judge will also decide who should be appointed as the person’s legal guardian.

The probate judge has some discretion in deciding who the legal guardian should be. Still, Michigan state law defines certain preferences in terms of legal guardianships.  To better understand the process of securing legal guardianship, consult with a skilled family law attorney.

Contact Gucciardo Family Law

For premier family law services in Michigan, reach out to the trusted professionals at Gucciardo Family Law. We have years of experience helping families through their toughest times. For questions regarding the legal guardianship process, contact our office to schedule a free legal consultation.

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We focus exclusively on family law matters so we are always available to answer your questions and help.

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