A court hearing is required to terminate the guardianship of an incapacitated adult or minor child. File a petition by completing the proper paperwork and giving notice to all the people who were notified when the guardianship was first filed. The court will review your documents and decide whether terminating guardianship would be in the best interests of the ward.
Who Can Apply to Terminate Guardianship
Different jurisdictions have different rules but generally, the legal guardian and the parents of a minor child can ask the court to terminate a guardianship. In some jurisdictions, the child herself can apply. California, for example, accepts petitions from children aged 12 and over.
Complete the Paperwork
You'll need to fill out a petition for termination of guardianship, notice of hearing and any other documents your local court requires. Call the court clerk for the county where the ward lives to make sure you have all the forms you need – the forms may differ depending on whether the ward is still living or has passed away. The petition tells the judge why you think the guardianship should end.
Reasons typically include the death of the ward, the ward moving out of state, an adult ward being deemed competent by her physician, or a minor child reaching the age of majority. Parents may also request termination if they have corrected the reasons why guardianship was originally granted for a minor child.
Read More: How to Fill Out Guardianship Paperwork
File the Forms
Make at least three copies of your documents. One copy is for you; the others are for the people you need to notify about the petition. To file the forms, take your original and copy documents to the clerk's office in the courthouse and pay the filing fee.
The court will keep the original documents and return the copies to you, stamped "filed," and you'll be given a date for the court hearing. You may be able to file the documents by mail, depending on the rules of your jurisdiction.
Give Notice to Interested Persons
It's up to you to serve all the people who may be interested in the petition with a copy of the papers. This is generally the same list of people who received notice of proceedings when the guardianship was first established. Serve the papers by personal delivery or by certified mail. Some states require that you file a "certificate of mailing" stating when, where and how you mailed the documents.
There may also be rules about the timing of service. California, for example, requires that you give notice at least 15 days before the hearing. Be sure to follow you state's notice rules, or the court may cancel your hearing.
Submit the Order
Before the hearing, prepare the court order that the judge will sign if she decides to end the guardianship. Ask for a template "order terminating guardianship" form at the courthouse and deliver it to the court ahead of the hearing. You can usually bring the order to the hearing if you forget to file it ahead of time.
Attend the Hearing
At the hearing, the judge will review the documents and decide whether terminating the guardianship is in the best interests of the incapacitated adult or minor child. In many cases the situation is clear cut, for example, if the ward has died or the child has turned 18. Where an interested party does not want the guardianship to end, you should be prepared to argue your case in court.
If the judge decides to end the guardianship, he will sign the order terminating guardianship. File this at the clerk's office and mail a copy to everyone you served with notice of the petition.
Jayne Thompson earned an LL.B. in Law and Business Administration from the University of Birmingham and an LL.M. in International Law from the University of East London. She practiced in various “Big Law” firms before launching a career as a commercial writer. Her work has appeared on numerous legal blogs including Quittance, Upcounsel and Medical Negligence Experts.