Request temporary guardianship of an incapacitated person

Learn how to request temporary legal guardianship of an incapacitated adult 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 locations

The Details of Request temporary guardianship of an incapacitated person

What you need for Request temporary guardianship of an incapacitated person

A temporary guardian may be appointed if it’s likely that there will be 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. An appointment of a temporary guardian generally lasts for no more than 90 days. Temporary guardianship powers may be limited. The authority of a temporary guardian will be specifically ordered by the court. A temporary guardian will continue to receive future court dates to continue the temporary guardianship until the guardianship becomes permanent. 

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 include:
    • 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.

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How to request Request temporary guardianship of an incapacitated person

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. 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 Request temporary guardianship of an incapacitated person

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 about Request temporary guardianship of an incapacitated person

An appointment of a temporary guardian generally lasts for no more than 90 days. After that, 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 decision of whether the respondent is incapacitated, 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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