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The Probate and Family Court may appoint a guardian to make some or all decisions for an incapacitated person. The person asking to be named guardian is called the petitioner, and the person believed to be incapacitated is called the respondent. To request to become a guardian for an incapacitated person, you'll first need to determine the type of guardianship you wish to file for: plenary or limited. More information about these types of guardianship can be found on the responsibilities of a guardian of an incapacitated person page.
Next, you'll need to file:
Depending on the circumstances, you may also need:
There may be a fee for service of process, which can vary.
If you're appointed guardian, 1 copy of the "letters of appointment" will be provided to you for free.
File for guardianship of an incapacitated person at the Probate and Family Court where:
14 days before the hearing, you'll need to have a disinterested person give notice to the respondent in person by delivering a copy of the petition and the Citation (Notice and Order). You'll also need to give notice by regular, first class mail to:
If you don't know where one of the interested parties is, the court will give your instructions for publicizing the notice in a newspaper selected by the court. You may be eligible for a fee waiver from the court to cover the cost of publication in a Massachusetts newspaper.
You should also file the original Notice of Hearing and Certificate of Service with a signed, completed Return of Service with the court. In cases with service by publication, you should also file:
Any interested person listed in the petition may file an objection to a petition for temporary or permanent guardianship.
If you're appointed as a guardian, you'll need to file Guardian's Care Plan/Report (MPC 821) within 60 days of being appointed as permanent guardian. You'll need to file this form annually.
If the incapacitated person becomes capable of exercising rights that were taken away by the guardianship, you should notify the court immediately.