• If I don’t have to hire an attorney, why do I have to hire a Guardian ad Litem? Isn’t that an attorney?
• How long does it take to be appointed a permanent guardian?
• How long does a temporary guardianship last?
• What is the difference between guardian of the person and of the estate?
• What are the court fees?
• If I’m someone’s guardian, can I be paid for my time and reimbursed for my expenses?
• If I’m guardian of the estate, how do I tell the court what assets the Ward owns?
• Am I required to report what I do to the Court?
How do I start a guardianship proceeding?
After you have completed the necessary documentation, take the form to the Register in Probate Office in the Ward’s county of residence. A file will be opened, a judge assigned, and a court date will be scheduled.
If I don’t have to hire an attorney, why do I have to hire a Guardian ad Litem? Isn’t that an attorney?
Yes, the Guardian ad Litem is an attorney, however, he/she represents the Ward and presents the best interest of the Ward to the Court at the hearing. The Guardian ad Litem is not your attorney and, therefore, cannot assist you with the guardianship proceeding. If you need that type of assistance, you would have to hire your own attorney.
How long does it take to be appointed a permanent guardian?
After you file the initial documentation to open a guardianship file, a judge will be appointed to hear the case. A hearing date will then be scheduled. There are statutory time limits that must be met after filing a petition:
Guardianship Petition of Incompetent...................................90 days Guardianship Petition of Minor..............................................90 days Guardianship Petition with Protective Placement...................60 days
These time limits may be extended under certain circumstances and there are some additional time limits depending on the situation. You should refer to Wis. Stat. Chapter 54 for more detail.
How long does a temporary guardianship last?
A temporary guardianship is good for 60 days and may be extended once for an additional 60 days. Please note that if the second 60-day period expires, another temporary guardianship may not be approved until 90 days has passed.
What is the difference between guardian of the person and of the estate?
The guardian of the person makes medical decisions for the Ward and makes sure he/she is safe. The guardian of the estate is making financial decisions.
What are the court fees?
The guardian will need certified copies of the Letters of Guardianship. There are two kinds: of the person and of the estate. There is a statutory fee of $4.00 for the first page and $1.00 for each additional page.
In addition, if there is a guardian of the estate, there is a statutory filing fee of $20.00 for assets totaling $50,000 or less. If the assets are more than $50,000, then the filing fee is .2% of the total.
If I’m someone’s guardian, can I be paid for my time and reimbursed for my expenses?
Yes, however, all fees paid to you from the guardianship MUST be approved by the judge BEFORE being paid. Please check with your local Register in Probate on how to obtain approval.
If I’m guardian of the estate, how do I tell the court what assets the Ward owns?
An inventory of the Ward’s assets must be filed with the court within 60 days of your appointment as guardian of the estate. The form is available from your local Register in Probate or at the WI Court Forms quick link.
Am I required to report what I do to the Court?
Yes. If you are guardian of the estate, you will be required to prepare and file a verified annual accounting of the income received and expenses paid from the Ward’s assets and provide a list of assets owned on December 31. As stated, this is an annual accounting and is due by April 15 each year for the previous calendar year.
If you are guardian of the person, you will be required to file a one-page report on the condition of your Ward. It is also due by April 15.
Both the accounting and report forms will be mailed to you by your local Register in Probate or you may obtain them by clicking here.
This webpage is provided as a public service and is not intended to be legal advice. If you have any questions about the information on this webpage, please contact an attorney.