How to Give a Relative Guardianship

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Legal guardians are appointed by probate courts to oversee the care and welfare of minors or incapacitated adults. Parents facing personal challenges may request a relative act as a guardian for minor children. Competent adults may also designate relatives if events require physical needs for guardianships. A person who has an appointed guardian is generally referred to as a ward. Guardianships can be terminated if circumstances change and guardians can be replaced by courts for good cause.

Step 1

Obtain a petition for appointment of guardianship from the county probate court in which the minor or incapacitated person resides. State the name of the relative preferred for guardianship and the person's relationship to the potential ward. State the name of the child or incapacitated adult for which the guardian is needed with his age, birthdate and address.

Step 2

Check the applicable reasons listed on the petition for why a guardian is needed. State any specific reasons justifying the guardianship in the space provided on the petition.

Step 3

Sign the petition. Have both parents sign if guardianship for a minor is being sought. Serve copies of the petitions on all interested parties, such as the potential ward and immediate family members. Sign the petition and file it with the court.

Step 4

Seek legal advice. Consult with an attorney to be certain all state laws are being followed. Ask a lawyer to correct any errors in the petition and provide any companion paperwork that may be required by the specific court involved. Retain a lawyer to draft legal guardianship documents if she so advises.


  • Do not give legal advice about guardianships to third parties unless you are an attorney.


About the Author

Maggie Lourdes is a full-time attorney in southeast Michigan. She teaches law at Cleary University in Ann Arbor and online for National University in San Diego. Her writing has been featured in "Realtor Magazine," the N.Y. State Bar's "Health Law Journal," "Oakland County Legal News," "Michigan Probate & Estate Planning Journal," "Eye Spy Magazine" and "Surplus Today" magazine.

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