There has been much discussion between all of us regarding guardianship, fees, simply how to do it and who to refer our families to. The two moms who advocated for the "no fee" route work with SCSU. Since the change, there have been many parents inquire how to complete guardianship for their kids. It is true, they have all completed it at no cost, except for the $35 fee to file with the court. Big Thanks Calleen. Here you go!
Gaining Guardianship of a Disabled Adult Child
Recently it has become possible for a parent of a disabled adult child to gain legal full guardianship without representation for the parent (petitioner) or the child (respondent).
The information on this page is not a substitute for legal advice. You are not required to hire an attorney, but legal matters can be complicated. Consider talking to an attorney to go over your options. Finding Legal Help.
It is important to know that these steps were taken from personal experience of a parent gaining uncontested guardianship of a biological child. Experiences may differ and this is only provided to help a family at their own risk.
All information, instructions and forms are found on the website
You are petitioning the probate court to remove your child’s rights to make medical, financial and/or legal decisions. You are agreeing to responsibly make these decisions on their behalf for as long as the order is in place.
You must be able to prove that your disabled child is incapacitated; that their ability to receive and evaluate information, make and communicate decisions or provide for necessities (food, clothing, shelter, health care and safety) is impaired to the extent that they lack the ability, even with appropriate assistance (technological), to meet the essential requirements for financial protection or physical health, safety or self care.
● Begin on the self help/how to section of the website by printing ALL forms listed on the forms section under “Forms to appoint a guardian for an adult child.”
● The first form is a Checklist and the second is a Coversheet, the third is the actual Petition to Appoint a Guardian for an Adult.
● You can fill everything out on each page on every form by hand.
● Read through the entire Checklist! It will go through every page almost line by line and explain what needs to be written in any given space. Most of it is your name and address as well as the address of your district court. Answer any information on your adult child honestly and in detail.
Take these forms to your county’s district court clerk’s office. You are filing in Probate Court. On your cover sheet for civil action make sure you mark the fee schedule for Probate: Guardianship-Disabled Adult Child. As of 2017 the fee for this filing is $35. This should be your only fee to the court!
The Coversheet, Petition and the Schedule A (list of people who must be served or notified of the petition to the court are the only forms) should be what you need to start the process, however, the clerk at the courthouse should be able to go through all of the paperwork you have ready at that time to turn into the court with your petition. The more you provide for the judge to read in advance the shorter the time you should have to be in the court room the day of your court date. Pay the fee and they will give you your court date and time. This might be up to/at least a month out.
Before court you will need to take the Guardianship and Conservatorship Pre-appointment Test and print out the Declaration of Completion of Testing. www.utcourts.gov/how're/seniors/docs
(It's basically an open book “test”, all the answers are provided to you).
Your next step is to write in the date and time of the hearing on the Notice of Hearing. Have one prepared for yourself as the petitioner and one for your adult child as the respondent. These will have to leave your hands and be “served” to all the people involved in the petition. There is a list of people that are allowed to do this on the website at
www.utcourts.gov/how to/service/service_of_process.htm (we had our neighbor that my daughter is familiar with help us). They will need to fill out and sign the Proof of Service. All of these forms, the Notice of Hearing and Proof of Service are in the list of forms on the website and instructions are also in the checklist.
If you haven't already done them and turned them in, make sure you prepare the
Petitioners Affidavit of Respondents Estate
Proof of Service,
Report on Clinical Evaluation (and any additional medical records you feel help the case- we used the school psychologist’s report, an IEP and diagnosis papers),
Proposed Order Appointing Guardianship AND Notice of Order
Forms for Guardianship and Conservatorship Pre-appointment Test,
Letter of Full Guardianship or Letter of Limited Guardianship
You will probably be scheduled in family Probate court with others coming to court for similar situations. You can check the court docket for that day outside of the courtroom to get an idea of where your case is in line. The judge may or may not ask questions about your paperwork or ask your child questions. We provided all our paperwork up front with our Petition and the judge had read them and had no questions for our hearing except to ask if anyone present was contesting it, which none was.
Some of the questions we heard asked to adult children were: Do you know why you are here? Do you know what it means to give your [parent] Guardianship? Do you think it's a good idea for [parent] to do this for you?
Once the judge has granted Guardianship you will need to take the paperwork back to the clerk before you leave. They will stamp it and you can purchase additional original copies from the court at this time. Some agencies like SSA will require an original, so it's a good idea to get a couple extras. They usually cost around $5 each.