How to Terminate a Guardianship
If you wish to terminate a guardianship, a court hearing is needed in most cases. Anyone, be they relative, guardian, or subject of the guardianship, can file the papers and ask a judge to figure out whether or not a guardianship is still needed.
There are several reasons one might consider terminating the agreement, such as:
- Death: When the ward dies, a final accounting is needed to close a guardianship over an estate. A hearing must be held to approve final accounting and close the case.
- Age of Majority: This only applies if the ward was a child who has now turned 18.
- Parents will Care for Child: Guardianships can be closed if the ward is a child and the parents are now able to care for him or her. They must prove they have fixed whatever allowed the guardianship to be granted, and that they can properly care for the child. They must show they can give shelter, food, and clothing, and that they can meet the child’s medical and educational needs.
- Moved Out of State A guardianship may be closed if the ward has moved to another state and the guardianship has been received in a new state. Proof of the other case has to be given.
- Competency: This only applies if the ward is now an adult who is both competent and able to manage his or her own affairs. Two doctors need to certify that the person is competent, and any request to end a guardianship on the grounds of competency of the adult have to be supported by two letters from two doctors stating the ward is competent.
Now let’s look at the steps required to terminate a guardianship:
- Complete the paperwork
- File the paperwork
- Serve the other parties (the most important, yet oft-forgotten step)
- Submit an order to the judge one week before the hearing
- Attend the hearing
Now, in more detail:
- 1. Complete Paperwork: You’ll have to complete a Petition to Terminate Guardianship, and a Citation or Notice of Hearing. The Petition is the document that tells the judge why you think that the guardianship is no longer required. Be sure to complete all the sections and attach any exhibits that support your argument.
You’ll also need to file the Citation to Appear or Notice of Hearing, and when you file it, you’ll need to have a court date for the judge and any interested parties to appear in court. If the ward is still living, complete the Citation to Appear and Show Cause; if they are passed, complete the Notice of Hearing.
- 2. File the Paperwork: Just like with the other documents, you can file your documents in a few ways:
- In person at the family courthouse
- By mail
- Online through Wiznet
- 3. Serve the Guardians and Other Parties: THIS IS IMPORTANT! If you don’t do this properly, the judge can cancel your hearing! All the documents must be mailed to guardians and relatives, and this is usually the same people who have been receiving notice of proceedings prior to this. This allows you to make sure the guardians and relatives know about the hearing and have a chance to respond. If the ward is alive, mail the petition and citation to all the required people by certified mail, return receipt requested. If the ward has passed away, you can send the petition and notice of hearing to everyone via regular mail.
- 4. Submit an order to the judge one week before hearing: If the judge ends the guardianship at the hearing, he/she will sign an official order ending it. Prepare the order ahead of time and submit it to the judge so he or she will have the necessary paperwork at the hearing. Fill out the Order Terminating Guardianship and take it to the family court a week before hearing.
- 5. Attend the Hearing and file final papers: Get to the courthouse early so you have enough time to do everything you need to beforehand. If the judge terminates the guardianship, he or she will sign the Order Terminating Guardianship. Be sure to bring it if you forgot to turn it in beforehand, and afterward, you have to make sure it is filed at the Clerk’s Office.