Guardianship is a legal relationship established by the court that assigns an individual or program to a person who has developmental disabilities, dementia, brain injury, chronic mental illness, or any other issue that makes them incapable of caring for themselves.

To establish guardianship in Wisconsin, the court must find that an individual is substantially unable to provide for his or her physical, emotional, medical, or residential needs and unable to make “informed decisions.” If it is determined a person is at risk, the guardian is given the right to make decisions on behalf of the incapacitated individual. He or she is able to exercise certain legal rights and make decisions based on the best interest of his or her ward.

Guardianship is very restricted and often viewed as a last resort by the courts because it deprives an individual of his or her liberty and dignity by removing the power to make decisions. This is done in the person’s best interest, but it is still a very serious situation and used only in instances in which there is no other option and a person is considered at risk.

In order to establish guardianship or be appointed a guardian for an individual, guardianship papers must be filed with the court. The proposed guardians and individual in question must then appear at a hearing in front of a judge whowill decide whether to grant the guardianship. Guardianship can be appointed on a temporary or permanent basis in Wisconsin.

Who needs this?

  • Families where an older teen with disabilities is turning 18 and needs a guardianship because they are not capable of handling their own decision making and financial needs.  this pertains especially to autism, downs syndrome and other development disabilities
  • I file the necessary paperwork with the probate court.

Ms. Kornblum does not handle the family court aspects of the case. However, she is more than happy to work with your attorney, or if you are an attorney, to help you with your client, on the child abuse aspects of the case. For more information about working with an expert consultant, contact Lori Kornblum at 414-331-3165 or email her at [email protected].