Request temporary guardianship of an incapacitated person

Learn how to request temporary legal guardianship of an incapacitated person while the Court decides if a permanent guardian should be appointed.
An appointment of a temporary guardian can last up to 90 days.

Probate and Family Court

The Details

What you need

A temporary guardian may be appointed if there's a likelihood of immediate and substantial harm to the health, safety, or welfare of the 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 an appointment of a temporary guardian, you'll need to file:

  • Temporary Bond, which must be approved by the Court
  • Court Activity Record Information (CARI) of the petitioner. CARIs include Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI), juvenile records, and civil restraining order information.
  • A verified Motion for Appointment of a Temporary Guardian (MPC 320). The motion must state:
    • The emergency
    • The risk
    • What authority is required
    • Why the request includes that notice be waived or shortened, if applicable 

With the motion, you should also provide information about whether the respondent has completed a Health Care Proxy and/or a Durable Power of Attorney. If a respondent has a Health Care Proxy and a Durable Power of Attorney and there is no disagreement over care plans, a guardianship may not be necessary.

How to request

On the day of the first hearing on a petition for guardianship, the petitioner may request appointment of a temporary guardian in person by filing the required forms.

Next steps

Give notice

If the request for temporary guardianship is approved, you must serve the Notice of Appointment of Temporary Guardian on the respondent and all interested parties within 7 days of the appointment. Although notice is required, the Court may shorten or waive this requirement if there's an immediate emergency situation.

More info

An appointment of a temporary guardian generally lasts for no more than 90 days. The court may extend the appointment for additional 90 day periods or the guardianship may become permanent. An appointment of a temporary guardian isn't a final determination of the respondent’s incapacity, and a temporary guardian can only exercise specific powers granted in the order. 

A guardian doesn't have the authority to admit an incapacitated person to a nursing facility without a specific court order. The Court must determine that the admission is in the person’s best interest. However, there is a law in Massachusetts that allows a guardian to admit an incapacitated person to a nursing facility for 60 days or less. 

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