The Allegan County Probate Court adjudicates three types of guardianship proceedings:
- Guardianships for developmentally disabled individuals
- Guardianships for legally incapacitated adults
- Guardianships for minors
Guardianships for Developmentally Disabled (DD) Individuals
Guardianship for individuals with developmental disability are utilized to promote and protect the well-being of the individual, including protection from neglect, exploitation, and abuse, and are designed to encourage the development of maximum self-reliance and independence in the individual. MCL § 330.1602(1). To successfully commence a DD guardianship proceeding, the petitioner must establish that the individual for whom guardianship is sought is developmentally disabled. For children up to age five, a developmental disability is defined as a substantial developmental delay or specific congenital or acquired condition with a high probability of resulting in developmental disability if services are not provided. MCL § 330.1100a(25).
For individuals more than five years old, developmental disability is defined as a severe chronic condition that meets all of the following requirements:
- Is attributable to a mental or physical impairment or a combination of mental and physical impairments.
- Is manifested before the individual is 22 years old.
- Is likely to continue indefinitely.
- Results in substantial functional limitations in 3 or more of the following areas of major life activity:
- Receptive and expressive language.
- Capacity for independent living.
- Economic self-sufficiency.
- Reflects the individual's need for a combination and sequence of special, interdisciplinary, or generic care, treatment, or other services that are of lifelong or extended duration and are individually planned and coordinated. MCL § 330.1100a(25).
Once a petition for DD guardianship is filed, the Court will appoint an attorney to represent the individual for whom guardianship is sought, if he or she has not already retained an attorney. Below are the forms necessary to commence DD guardianship proceedings. Once you have completed the forms, you may file them in person or mail them to the address listed to the left of this page. There is no filing fee associated with filing a petition for DD guaridanship, but the petition must be accompanied by a report containing a current evaluation (performed within the last year) by a licensed psychologist who is competent to consider the individual’s mental, physical, social and educational condition, adaptive behavior, and social skills. MCL § 330.1612.
Guardianships for Legally Incapacitated Individuals (LIIs)
To successfully commence LII guardianship proceedings, the petitioner must show by clear and convincing evidence that the individual for whom a guardian is sought is an incapacitated individual and that the appointment is necessary as a means of providing continuing care and supervision of the incapacitated individual. MCL § 700.5306(1).
An “incapacitated individual” is defined as someone who is impaired by reason of:
- Mental illness
- Mental deficiency
- Physical illness or disability
- Chronic use of drugs
- Chronic intoxication, or
- Another cause, not including minority, to the extent of lacking sufficient understanding or capacity to make or communicate informed decisions. MCL § 700.1105(a).
When a petition for LII guardianship is filed the Court appoints a guardian ad litem to conduct an investigation of the proposed guardianship and file a written report of the investigation. Payment of the guardian ad litem fees are the responsibility of the petitioner, unless otherwise prearranged with the Allegan County Probate. Fees for this service typically range between $150.00 to $200.00. Below are the forms necessary to commence LII guardianship proceedings. Once you have completed the forms, you may file them in person or mail them to the address listed to the left of this page. The filing fee to initiate LII guardianship is listed at the bottom of this page.
A person may become a minor's guardian by parental appointment or Court appointment. MCL § 700.5201. A person interested in the welfare of a minor, or a minor if 14 years of age or older, may petition the Court to appoint a guardian for the minor. Upon receiving a petition, the Court will appoint the Department of Health and Human Services to conduct an investigation of the proposed guardianship and file a written report of the investigation. MCL § 700.5204(1).
The Court may appoint a guardian for an unmarried minor if any of the following circumstances exist:
- The parental rights of both parents or the surviving parent are terminated or suspended by prior court order, by judgment of divorce or separate maintenance, by death, by judicial determination of mental incompetency, by disappearance, or by confinement in a place of detention.
- The parent or parents permit the minor to reside with another person and do not provide the other person with legal authority for the minor's care and maintenance, and the minor is not residing with his or her parent or parents when the petition is filed.
- All of the following:
- The minor's biological parents have never been married to one another.
- The minor's parent who has custody of the minor dies or is missing and the other parent has not been granted legal custody under court order.
- The person whom the petition asks to be appointed guardian is related to the minor within the fifth degree by marriage, blood, or adoption.
Below are the forms that must be completed to commence a minor guardianship proceeding in the Allegan County Probate Court. Once you have completed the forms, you may file them in person or mail them to the address listed to the left of this page. The filing fee to initiate minor guardianship is listed at the bottom of this page.