How to pursue guardianship in Massachusetts

On Behalf of | Jul 25, 2022 | elder law

If you’re worried that your parent or another loved one is unable to make appropriate decisions on their own, then you may be considering guardianship. If you successfully establish legal guardianship, then you will likely be tasked with making medical and personal decisions for you loved one until the guardianship ends. Although guardianship is daunting to some, it can provide a way to ensure that a loved one’s needs are fully met.

How to pursue guardianship

To become a guardian, you’ll have to file a petition with the court. In addition to meeting other legal requirements, you’ll have to successfully show that your loved one is incapacitated. To be considered “incapacitated” under Massachusetts law, you must present evidence that demonstrates that your loved one has been clinically diagnosed with a medical condition that renders them unable to communicate about important decisions to be made in their life.

Proving incapacitation

To prove incapacitation, then, you’ll need a medical certificate from a physician, a psychologist, or some other type of specialist. This certificate should be issued after an examination of the individual, which must occur within 30 days’ of the petition’s filing. If the incapacitation involves an intellectual disability, then you also might need to submit a clinical team report to demonstrate the extent of your loved one’s disability.

Next steps

After that, you’ll be tasked with providing notice to all interested persons, any of whom can file an objection to your petition. The court will then set a hearing, hear evidence, and make a determination on the appropriateness of the guardianship.

The process can seem rather simple on its face, but the fact is that guardianship proceedings can sometimes become hotly contested. That’s why it’s oftentimes best to enter this arena with skilled legal advocate by your side. That way you can minimize risk and ensure that you’re protecting your loved one as fully as possible.