State Guardianships Forms

Incapacities include age, developmental disabilities, and severe mental illness. If a person with an incapacity cannot make their own decisions because of their incapacity, the court can appoint a guardian.

State Guardianships Forms

A court appoints a legal guardian to make legal decisions for someone who can't make their own decisions. That person is called a ward and usually has an incapacity. 

Guardians make legal decisions for the ward. Healthcare, finances, and housing are a few decisions a guardian makes. There are different types of guardianships. The type selected depends on the ward's circumstances. For example, guardianship of a minor is appropriate when the ward is a minor child. A guardian of the person applies to adult guardianships. A temporary guardianship is suitable for short-term needs.

The process of appointing a guardian is complex. Interested parties can file a court petition to start the process. Although some courts offer legal guardianship forms for free online, prospective guardians should seek legal advice.

This article will provide an overview of the legal process to appoint a legal guardian and a list of guardianship forms by state.

Guardianship Proceedings

Guardianship proceedings begin when someone files a petition to appoint a guardian with the court. Then the court may schedule a hearing after the petition is filed. All interested parties will receive a notice of hearing. This is only the beginning.

The court must determine if the ward has an incapacity and if it interferes with their decision-making. The court will order an independent examination to confirm the incapacity.

The court investigator will investigate the proposed guardian. The purpose of this investigation is to vet the proposed guardian. The court can appoint a guardian ad litem to look after the ward's best interests.

After the final hearing, the court will appoint a guardian, if necessary. The court does so through court orders or letters of guardianship. The order appointing a guardian gives the guardian specific authority over the ward's life. For example, a guardian of a minor can apply for benefits, including child support for the minor child. Guardians account for their activities in an annual report.

Guardianship Forms

Guardianship forms will differ from state to state. Some states offer fillable forms, which allow the petitioner to fill out the legal forms online. They can then print the documents and cover sheet and submit them to the court with the filing fee. If a party cannot afford the filing fee, they should request a waiver.

These forms ask for general information about the person who needs a guardian. This includes their name, age, and address. If the potential ward has a power of attorney, enclose it with the form. There is space to state why a guardian is needed and to nominate a guardian. Some forms provide a checklist for the proposed guardian's powers. Finally, since guardianship should be the least restrictive alternative, the court may ask for alternatives to guardianship.

Guardianship Forms by State

The following are the online resources to help you access the necessary state guardianship forms:

Alabama

Alabama Legal Help written by the Alabama State Bar
Alaska Alaska Court Guardianship/Conservatorship Forms

Arizona

Probate Forms
Arkansas Arkansas Legal Services Partnership
California California Courts Self Help
Colorado Colorado Judicial Branch
Connecticut Connecticut Judicial Branch Law Libraries
Delaware Petitions to Establish Guardianship
District of Columbia District of Columbia Courts: Forms
Florida Eighth Judicial Circuit of Florida
Georgia Georgia Probate Court Standard Forms and General Instructions
Hawai'i Hawai'i State Judiciary
Idaho Forms: Guardianship and Conservatorship
Illinois Illinois Guardianship and Advocacy Commission or Illinois Legal Aid
Indiana Indiana Office of Court Services
Iowa Iowa Judicial Branch
Kansas Kansas Judicial Council
Kentucky Kentucky Court of Justice
Louisiana Forms are unavailable online. Visit your local parish court clerk or attorney for help.
Maine Guardianship and Custody
Maryland Maryland Courts
Massachusetts Massachusetts Court System
Michigan Michigan Courts
Minnesota Court Forms: Guardianship / Conservatorship
Mississippi Guardianship (MS Legal Services)
Missouri Court Forms: Missouri Courts
Montana Montana Guardianship Forms
Nebraska Guardianship / Conservatorship in Nebraska
Nevada Supreme Court of Nevada: Standardized Guardianship Forms (Self-help Center)
New Hampshire New Hampshire Judicial Branch
New Jersey Guardianship
New Mexico Forms: New Mexico Courts
New York

New York State Unified Court System

North Carolina North Carolina Court System
North Dakota

State of North Dakota Courts

Ohio The Supreme Court of Ohio
Oklahoma Oklahoma State Courts Network
Oregon Family Law Forms
Pennsylvania Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania
Rhode Island Rhode Island Department ofState
South Carolina South Carolina Judicial Department
South Dakota South Dakota Department of Human Services
Tennessee Tennessee Guardianship of a Minor
Texas Texas Health and Human Services
Utah Utah Courts
Vermont Adult and Minor Guardianship
Virginia Virginia's Judicial System
Washington Washington Courts
West Virginia West Virginia Judiciary
Wisconsin Wisconsin Court System
Wyoming

Judicial Branch

Get Legal Help

Guardianship cases are complex. Speak to an experienced local family law attorney for help completing guardianship forms and more.

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Can I Solve This on My Own or Do I Need an Attorney?

  • Guardianship is always a court process
  • An attorney can help file a guardianship petition and represent your interests
  • Legal advice during the planning, court processes, and interviews is helpful
  • Your attorney can help you understand the final decision from the court

Get tailored advice for becoming or appointing a legal guardian. Many attorneys offer free consultations.

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Don't Forget About Estate Planning

Once new guardianship arrangements are in place, it’s an ideal time to create or change your estate planning forms. Take the time to add new beneficiaries to your will. Consider creating a financial power of attorney so your agent can pay bills and make sure your children are provided for. A health care directive explains your health care decisions. It takes the decision-making burden off your children when they become adults.

Start Planning