Guardianship/Conservatorship for Minors
- When may a guardian or conservator be necessary for a minor?
- In which county should I file to open a guardianship?
- In which county should I file to open a conservatorship?
- What is the difference between a guardian and a conservator?
- How are guardians and conservators appointed?
- What are the duties of a guardian?
- What are the duties of a conservator?
- When may a guardianship or conservatorship be terminated?
- Do I need an attorney?
- How much time should I plan on spending at the court to open a guardianship and\or conservatorship?
- How do I get certified copies of court documents?
When a minor does not have a responsible parent or adult to make daily living decisions for him or her, then that minor may be in need of a guardian. When a minor owns property or needs representation in a legal action, then that minor may need a conservator.
A petitioner would file a guardianship petition in either the county where the minor resides (i.e., where they live) or is present.
A petitioner would file a conservatorship petition in the county where the minor resides (i.e., where they live). If the minor resides outside of Michigan , but has property in Michigan , the petitioner may file a conservatorship in the county where the minor’s property is located.
Generally, it can be said that the guardian makes decisions about the person, such as medical or housing decisions, and the conservator makes decisions about the property or the finances of the minor. A guardian and a conservator can be the same person or institution or they may be different. For example, a guardian could be a person and a conservator could be a trust company or bank.
A guardian or conservator may be appointed by a Probate Judge after a petition is filed in the Probate Court. The petition may be filed by anyone interested in the well-being of the minor, except that one type of guardianship (limited) may only be requested by a parent having custody or by both parents if both parents have custody. For a limited guardianship, the court must approve a placement plan for the minor, including how long the guardianship is to last.
When the petition is
filed, a hearing will be scheduled as soon as possible (in some emergency
cases, it may be possible to obtain an immediate temporary guardian before the
hearing). The person who files the petition has the responsibility to
properly notify the persons who have a right to know about the hearing. IN
GUARDIANSHIP CASES, IF A PARTY IS INCARCERATED
On the date of the hearing, the petitioner and anyone else who wants to take part in the hearing goes before the Judge (all hearings are being done remotely via ZOOM due to the health emergency) and explains the need for a guardian or conservator. The person who is appointed guardian is required to file an Acceptance of Appointment. The person who is appointed conservator must file an Acceptance of Appointment and may also be required to file a Bond to protect the minor’s assets. After filing the Acceptance of Appointment (and Bond, if required), Letters of Authority will be issued to the guardian or conservator. (The Letters of Authority give the guardian or conservator the right to perform the following duties, unless the court restricts their authority.)
- The guardian generally has the same authority and responsibility as a parent for a minor except that a limited guardian cannot consent to a minor’s marriage or adoption. A regular guardian cannot consent to a minor’s adoption without the court’s permission.
- The guardian is required to file every year an Annual Report of Guardian on Condition of Minor. The report must be filed within 56 days of the anniversary date of the appointment. The information contained in the report allows the court to assess how the guardianship is working and whether it is still necessary.
- Within 56 days of being appointed, the conservator must file an Inventory. The Inventory is a listing of all assets of the minor. Assets may consist of real estate, stocks, bonds, certificates of deposit, savings and checking accounts and personal belongings and everything in which the minor has an interest.
- It is the duty of the conservator to care for and preserve all of the assets of the minor and to represent the minor in any legal proceeding.
- The conservator must keep careful records of all income of the minor and all disbursements of the minor’s funds. The conservator must keep the minor’s assets separate from his or her own and never “borrow” from the minor’s assets.
- It is the duty of the conservator to file an Annual Account each year within 56 days after the anniversary date of the conservator’s appointment.
Anyone, including the minor who is at least 14 years of age, may file a petition to modify the guardianship or or to have a different guardian or conservator appointed. With the court’s permission, the guardian may resign at any time. When the minor reaches 18 years of age or dies, the court should be notified so that the guardianship or can be ended and the court’s case closed. Before the conservator can be discharged, a Final Account will have to be filed and approved by the court and the court will have to be satisfied that the minor (now adult) or his or her estate has received whatever assets remain.
If you have questions that this pamphlet did not answer, please seek legal advice from an attorney. By law, court employees are not permitted to give legal advice.
Due to the health emergency, the court is closed to the public. All items are filed via email (firstname.lastname@example.org), FAX (313-967-4030) or mail. See the court's homepage, www.wcpc.us, for additional details.
They can be obtained via email (email@example.com) or mailed to:Wayne County Probate Court
Attn: Service Clerks
1307 Coleman A. Young Municipal Center
Detroit, MI 48226
If the request is mailed in, please include the filing fee.