Law Office of Shannon DeWall, PLLC



Guardianship, Part 2

Posted on January 5, 2020 at 5:55 PM

How to File for Guardianship

Once a person decides that a guardian is needed for a loved one, a petition for guardianship must be filed with the probate court in the county where the loved one lives. The person who files the petition is called the “petitioner” and the loved one is called the “proposed ward.” Once the petition is filed, a hearing will be scheduled for a later date.


Under Michigan Court Rules, the petitioner is required to notify certain individuals that there is a guardianship hearing. This includes the proposed ward, their spouse, and certain family members. These interested persons may object to the guardianship.


Guardian Ad Litem

A guardian ad litem (GAL) is a person appointed by the court to serve as the court’s “eyes and ears.” They are sent to visit the proposed ward and to explain the petition, the proposed ward’s rights, and the hearing process. The GAL must review the circumstances and make a report to the court. This could include recommending a different person act as guardian or even telling the court they don’t think a guardian is needed at all.


Probate Court Hearing

The primary purpose of this hearing is for the judge to determine whether guardianship is necessary. To grant a guardianship, the judge must determine by clear and convincing evidence that

• The individual lacks the capacity to make or communicate informed decisions; and

• A guardian is necessary to provide care for the individual.


Once the judge establishes these two things, the judge will appoint a guardian. A guardian can be any competent person over the age of 18 who is willing to serve. To choose a guardian, the judge will follow the priority spelled out in the law, which is as follows:

• The guardian already appointed in another state for the ward;

• The person chosen by the ward

• The person nominated in the ward’s durable power of attorney;

• The person who serves as the ward’s patient advocate.

• If none of the options above are available, then ward’s spouse, adult children, or other family members


If the judge cannot find someone to serve as guardian from this list, a professional guardian may be appointed.



Do you have questions about filing for guardianship? We can help. Contact us at (734) 237-8507 or e-mail us at [email protected] We can help you navigate this complicated area.



Categories: Elder Law