Guardianship is a court-supervised relationship, established to protect the legal rights and interests of the person in need of protection called the "ward." A guardian can be a family member or a friend.

Two Types of Guardianship:

Incompetent Guardianship

An adult person, who is eighteen years of age or older, who cannot make decisions about his/her legal rights due to illness, a mental condition, or injury, is referred to by the law as an "incompetent" person. For example, an elderly person who suffers from dementia may be adjudged an incompetent who is in need of a guardian, or a person who sustained severe injuries in an accident and is unable to manage his/her affairs for a time may need a guardian.

Minor Guardianship

Minor guardianships are court-supervised procedures which permit a grandparent or other concerned individual to become a child's guardian. The court may appoint a guardian for a person under the age of eighteen years, who is need of an adult, other than the parents, to make legal decisions for the care of a minor. Applicants must be screened for suitability, but once established, the guardianship ends only upon the child's reaching eighteen years of age, or if the court determines that the need for guardianship has ended.

Particulars of Guardianship:

Legal Status of the Guardian

For legal purposes, it is as if the guardian were standing in the shoes of the ward. The guardian must act in the best interests of the ward.

Guardian of Person and/or Estate

A guardian of the person of the ward protects the physical needs of the ward. A guardian of the estate of the ward controls and protects the financial assets of the ward.

Emergency Guardianship

In an emergency, the court may appoint a guardian without notice to the ward or the ward's family in order to protect the ward from immediate, irreparable harm to the ward's person or estate (finances/property). A guardian appointed on an emergency basis may serve for a very short time, and the court must conduct a hearing on whether the guardianship should continue. An emergency guardian may be appointed in either a minor or incompetant guardianship situation.

Termination of a Guardianship

A minor guardianship ends when the ward attains the age of eighteen years, if the minor dies, or when the court determines there is no longer a need for the guardian.

An incompetent guardianship ends upon the death of the ward, if the ward regains competence, or when the court determines there is no longer a need for the guardian.

Guardianship Checklists:

For a checklist of required documentation through an adult incompetent guardianship action, please click here.

For a checklist of required documentation through a minor guardianship action, please click here.

For a checklist of required documentation for a land sale, please click here


Establishing a Guardianship of an Adult:

Emergency Guardianship of an Adult

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Establishing a Guardianship for an Adult Incompetent

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Establishing a Guardianship of a Minor:

Establishing a Guardianship of A Minor

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Items That May be Required Once A Guardianship is Established:

Guardian of  the Person - Ongoing/Annual Forms

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Guardian of the Estate - Ongoing/Annual Forms

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Continuing Education for Guardians of Adults:

Guardians who need to complete continuing education pursuant to Local Rule 66.5 and Sup.R. 66.07(A) may do so by choosing one of several online courses found on the Supreme Court's website. All courses are three hours in length. Once completed, the guardian should forward the certification of completion to the Court.

If a guardian does not have access to a computer or a stable internet connection, the guardian should contact the Wayne County Probate Court at (330) 287-5577 and make an appointment to come into the Court and view one of the required courses in our training room. Videos will be shown at designated times and attendees will be given credit for attending upon completion. The Court will ensure that all attendees comply with social distance requirements.

As a reminder, guardians who have completed the initial Fundamentals of Guardianship course, two subsequent continuing education courses, and who timely filed their guardian's report, annual plan, and statement of expert evaluation (if required) during the preceding calendar year, may apply for a waiver of the continuing education requirement the current calendar year by submitting a written request to the Court. The form for this request can be found here.


The information contained on this web site is not legal advice, nor should it substitute for the assistance of a qualified attorney. Good legal assistance can speed up the court process and prevent costly legal errors.

Get more information on obtaining an attorney.