How to Object to a Guardianship

Objecting to a Guardianship

Anyone who disagrees with a guardianship can let the judge know their concerns by “objecting” to the guardianship. There are different ways to object to a guardianship depending on whether or not a judge has signed an order appointing someone to be the guardian. Read the following sections to find out how to raise any concerns with the judge:

Before a Guardian is Appointed
After a Guardian is Appointed

Before a Guardian is Appointed

If you were served with legal papers about a proposed guardianship, you should have a document called the “Citation to Appear and Show Cause.” This document will tell you when the court hearing is scheduled.  The court hearing is when the judge will decide whether or not to appoint a guardian. You may attend the hearing and raise your concerns in court at that time. 

If you want to file a written statement about why you are opposed before the hearing, you can file an "Objection" to the Guardianship.  There is usually a filing fee to submit this document.

Objection to Guardianship (pdf)

If you would like to be considered as a potential guardian, you can also petition the court to be considered. You will have to follow all of the steps to file for guardianship (See Filing for an Adult or Filing for a Child) and fill out your own paperwork explaining why you should be the guardian. When multiple people ask to be the guardian, the judge may have to conduct a trial before deciding who to appoint.

After a Guardian is Appointed

Once a judge signs an order appointing someone the guardian, opposing a guardianship becomes more difficult. A person who is opposed to the guardianship has the following limited options:

Ask the Court to Undo the Guardianship & Start Over

A person can file a “Motion to Set Aside the Order” if the guardianship order is wrong or unjust. This does not apply to situations where a person simply disagrees with the judge’s decision. Anyone filing this kind of motion must prove to the judge that the order was obtained due to fraud, misrepresentation, mistake, excusable neglect, or misconduct of a party (to name some of the reasons). This motion must usually be filed within 6 months of when the order appointing the guardian was entered. If granted, the judge will “redo” the guardianship proceedings to correct any errors that occurred the first time.

To ask the court to undo the guardianship order and start all over, download the following packet and follow all of the instructions included:

Motion to Set Aside Guardianship Order (pdf)

Ask the Court to Remove and Replace the Guardian

If the guardian has failed or neglected to perform their duties, mismanaged the estate, or for some other reason is not suitable to continue serving as the guardian, anyone can ask that the guardian be removed. However, someone must file all of the required paperwork to ask to serve as the new guardian going forward. It will be up to the judge to decide if there is a legal basis to remove the guardian and if so, to appoint a new guardian to take over.

To learn how to ask the court to remove the existing guardian and appoint a new guardian to take their place, please see Changing Guardians

Ask the Court to End the Guardianship

If a guardianship is no longer needed for any reason, a person can ask the court to terminate the guardianship. If granted, the guardianship ends completely. See Terminating the Guardianship for more information.