Probate Information

Probate Information
Guardianship—Acting for Adults Who Become Disabled

Provided by the Probate & Estate Planning Section of the State Bar of Michigan



Powers & Duties of a Guardian

A full guardian is responsible for the individual's care, custody, and supervision. This means that the guardian will make sure that: 1) the individual has proper food and clothing, 2) the individual lives in a place that is appropriate for him or her, 3) the individual's medical needs are met, and 4) the individual's property is safe. A limited guardian is responsible for only those duties stated in the court order.

Does the Guardian Make Medical Decisions for the Incapacitated Individual?
If the incapacitated individual has a valid patient advocate designation and the patient advocate is properly acting in the best interests of the patient, the patient advocate will continue to make medical decisions for the individual. Otherwise, the guardian will make the medical decisions.

Is the Guardian Liable for Any Wrong Done by the Incapacitated Individual?
The guardian is not liable to other people for any action of the incapacitated individual.

What Kind of Reports Does the Guardian File With the Court?
The guardian must visit the individual at least quarterly. At least once a year, the guardian must prepare a report on the condition of the incapacitated individual and file the report with the probate court. The guardian must give copies of the report to the incapacitated individual and all interested persons as defined by Michigan Court Rule.

How Does a Guardian Provide for the Disabled Individual's Needs?
If a conservator is not appointed, the guardian may take control of and manage the incapacitated person's funds and property for the benefit of the individual. The funds or property are used for the individual's support, care, and education. Any amount not used is saved for the individual's needs.

Can a Hospital or Nursing Home Ask a Guardian to Sign a Do-Not-Resuscitate Order for the Incapacitated Individual?
Generally, yes, as long as the incapacitated individual does not object. There is a specific procedure limiting when and how a guardian may do this.

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This brochure is for informational purposes only. The information provided in this brochure is not legal advice. You can get legal advice from a lawyer who is a member of the State Bar of Michigan. You can find legal help at You can find a lawyer who knows about helping disabled adults by searching for a lawyer in your area and using the practice area search terms “guardianship & conservatorship. The information provided may be modified or rendered incorrect by future legislative or judicial developments and may not be applicable to any individual reader's facts and circumstances.

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Copyright 2016 Probate & Estate Planning Section of the State Bar of Michigan.

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