The best plan to avoid the possible need for a future imposition of a court-ordered guardian or conservator is by preparing valid and thorough legal documents while you are capable of doing so. These might include a Financial Power of Attorney and an Advance Health Care Directive or possibly a trust. But some individuals never plan, or they prepare legal documents which are not sufficient. In that case, it may be necessary for a person or the State of Maine to petition the Probate Court to appoint a guardian and/or conservator for the individual.

The Probate Court will appoint a guardian for an individual who is incapacitated and unable to make or communicate responsible decisions regarding his or her physical needs. The Probate Court may appoint a conservator for an individual who is unable to manage his or her money and property. The Maine Elder Law Firm represents petitioners who seek to be appointed as guardian or conservator for another. The firm also represents individuals or interested family members who may contest the appointment of an inappropriate guardian or conservator.

When we meet with an individual regarding potential guardianship and conservatorship, we often provide a copy of this handbook published by the Maine Department of Health and Human Services.