File for guardianship of an incapacitated person

Learn how to file for legal guardianship of an incapacitated adult and find out which forms you'll need to file.

Probate and Family Court locations

The Details of File for guardianship of an incapacitated person

What you need for File for guardianship of an incapacitated person

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 want to file for: plenary (complete) or limited. You can learn more about the types of guardianship on the responsibilities of a guardian of an incapacitated person page.

Next, you'll need to file:

  • Petition for Guardianship (MPC 120) For plenary guardianship, you must check the box explaining why limited powers aren’t appropriate. For limited guardianship, you must include the Exhibit that lists proposed Limitations to Powers.
  • Medical Certificate (MPC 400) This needs to be completed and signed by a registered physician, licensed psychologist, or certified psychiatric nurse clinical specialist. The examination of the respondent must have been within 30 days of when the petition is filed.
  • Bond (MPC 801) The Bond confirms that you agree to submit to the jurisdiction of the court that is issuing the Letters of Appointment as guardian. You can request that the bond be without sureties, with personal sureties, or with the support of a corporate surety bond. In guardianship matters, the surety is usually waived. The bond must include the estimated value of the respondent's real estate and personal estate. 

Depending on the circumstances, you may also need:

  • Clinical Team Report (MPC 402) if the respondent has an intellectual disability. The report needs to be completed by a physician, licensed psychologist, and a social worker. The examination of the respondent must have been within 180 days from when the petition is filed.
  • Special requirements if the respondent is treated with antipsychotic medications. This treatment requires special court authority and is known as having Rogers Authority. If Rogers Authority is requested:
    • A lawyer will be appointed by the court
    • You'll need to submit Findings and a Treatment Plan for approval by the court
    • An annual review date will be included in the Decree

Some of these forms may not display properly in your browser. Please download the form(s) you need and open them in Acrobat Reader. For more information, please see What to do if you can't open court PDF files.

Fees for File for guardianship of an incapacitated person

There may be a fee for service of process, which can vary.

If you're appointed guardian, a copy of the "letters of appointment" will be given to you for free.

Name Fee Unit
Additional letters of appointment for guardianship $25 each

How to file File for guardianship of an incapacitated person

File for guardianship of an incapacitated person at the Probate and Family Court where:

  • The incapacitated person lives when the petition is filed or
  • A will nominating the guardian was or could be probated or
  • The incapacitated person is admitted to a facility pursuant to a court order

Next steps for File for guardianship of an incapacitated person

Give notice

14 days before the hearing, you'll need to have a disinterested person (someone who has no stake in the case) 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:

  • The original uncut tear sheet from the newspaper
  • Any returned, undelivered, certified mail cards which were sent to all interested persons
  • Signed green cards

Any interested person listed in the petition may file an objection to a petition for temporary or permanent guardianship.

More info for File for guardianship of an incapacitated person

If you're appointed as a guardian, you'll need to file a 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. 

Downloads for File for guardianship of an incapacitated person

Contact for File for guardianship of an incapacitated person

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