Practice Area: Guardianships & Conservatorships

We help explain the responsibilities of guardianship, conservatorship in Michigan.

What is a guardianship?

Michigan has three kinds of guardianships. There are (1) guardians for developmentally disabled individuals, (2) guardians for minors, and (3) guardians for adults who are mentally ill, physically ill or disabled, or who suffer from a substance abuse disease. The guardian is responsible for the “person.” That means that the guardian is responsible for physical wellbeing of this individual in much the same way as a parent is responsible for a child.

What is a conservatorship?

A conservator is responsible for another individual’s finances. The individual needs help because he or she is mentally ill, physically ill or disabled, or suffering from a substance abuse disease. A conservator can be appointed for an elderly individual who is healthy, but in that case the individual asks the court for a conservator.

Why are guardianship and conservatorship necessary?

A guardianship or conservatorship is necessary if the individual cannot take care of his own needs and there is a pressing need that must be met in order to avoid a serious harm to that individual or to those who depend on this individual for support. There are many disabled individuals who have unmet needs. Not all of them need or want to have a guardian or conservator. A guardianship or conservatorship is not appropriate just because a family member thinks it is a good idea.

What do you have to do if you are appointed?

If you are appointed, then you will report to the court on a regular basis. The court may remove you and appoint someone else, if you do not submit reports to the court when asked.

Who will the court appoint?

The court has a priority list that it follows to determine who should serve. The highest priority is given to a guardian or conservator appointed for this individual by another state. If there is none, the court asks the individual whom they would like for the court to appoint. After that, the priority list follows kinship.

Where do I go to be appointed?

Generally, a petition is filed with the probate court for the county in which the individual resides.