The probate court in your county appointed a guardian to act on your behalf. Now, you want to end your guardianship so that you can make your own decisions about your life, including where you live, how you spend your money, and other important choices. The question often arises on how to terminate the guardianship. In Michigan, there is a law that informs the court on how to terminate a guardianship. It is MCL 700.5310. The first thing to do is to determine if your guardian and other interested parties (your immediate relatives) all agree that terminating the guardianship is the best thing to do. If everyone agrees, file a petition with the probate court that granted the guardianship. If everyone does not agree, that is not the end as you can file your own request with the court.
If there is not an agreement on terminating the guardianship, you will need to get a report and letter from your doctor or a few of your doctors, if more than one treats your condition, to state that you are no longer incapacitated or in need of a guardian. It is often helpful to ask if your doctor or doctors are willing to testify on your behalf in court, if needed.
The next step is to decide whether you can afford to hire your own attorney or if you will need to ask the court to appoint one on your behalf. If the court has also appointed a conservator, you would have to ask the conservator if you can financially afford an attorney. If finances are an issue, then ask the court to appoint you an attorney. An attorney can advise on what other evidence would need to be presented to the court to prove that you no longer need a guardian. An attorney can also make sure that the form is filled out properly. But if you cannot afford an attorney, some organizations, such as Michigan Protection & Advocacy Services, have form letters that you can use to request the termination of the guardian. If you are the person who has the guardian, there is no filing fee for you to file this petition.
Once you file your petition or request to terminate the guardianship, the court has twenty-eight (28) days to schedule the hearing. Prior to this hearing, the court will likely send a person known as guardian ad litem to the residence of the ward. The guardian ad litem will report to the court on the individual’s living conditions and other factors the court should consider before rendering its decision. At the hearing, the judge will determine if the request to terminate is approved. The court may order a modification of the guardianship by appointing a new guardian or modifying what the guardian can do. If the court denies the request, it can set a time limit before another request to terminate or modify the guardianship can be filed.
If you would like to terminate a guardianship, contact our office to schedule a pre-engagement meeting to find out what more you need to do.