Conservatorship Accountability Project
Overview of the Process
The establishment of guardianships will differ to some extent based on state laws and local court procedures. However, the process involves some common steps, including a petition to initiate a court proceeding and a hearing to determine capacity levels and the need for a guardianship or conservatorship. The National Probate Court Standards is an excellent guide on the guardianship and conservatorship processes from petition to final report and discharge. The standards recommend that a petition to establish a guardianship or conservatorship include the following information:
- The reasons why a guardianship or conservatorship is being sought
- A description of the nature and extent of the limitations in the respondent's ability to care for herself/himself or to manager her or his financial affairs
- Representations that less intrusive alternatives to guardianship or conservatorship have been examined
- The guardianship/conservatorship powers being requested and the duration of the powers
- The nature and estimated value of assets, the real and personal property included in the estate, and the estimated annual income (conservatorship cases).
Following the submission of a petition, the establishment of a guardianship or conservatorship generally involves the following steps, though variances will occur from court to court.