Hampshire County Probate

and Family Court

 

 

Michael J. Carey

Register of Probate

 

 
33 King Street, Northhampton, MA 01060

Telephone Number (413) 586-8500

Open: 8:00 to 4:30 Monday through Friday

 

33 King Street, Northhampton, MA 01060

Telephone Number (413) 586-8500

Open: 8:00 to 4:30 Monday through Friday

Hampshire County Probate

and Family Court

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Guardianship/Conservatorship 

EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2009, ALL FORMS HAVE BEEN CHANGED, PLEASE CLICK HERE FOR FURTHER INFORMATION.

If you wish further information about the type of case below, click on each link.


Guardianship - Person and Estate (Mental Illness, Mental Retardation, Physical Incapacity or Illness)

A guardian is a fiduciary appointed by the court to care for the person, property, or both, of another person unable to care for him/herself who is known as the ward.  The Probate and Family Court has the power to appoint guardians of persons unable to care for themselves due to their age, physical or mental condition, or because they are spendthrifts.  An individual may petition the Court to be appointed a guardian, or the Court itself may nominate a person to serve as a guardian. 

A guardian ad litem is a special guardian appointed by the Court to represent the interests of an individual for a specific matter.  A guardian ad litem appointment is not related to a guardianship but is a separate and distinct appointment authority defined by the statutes.

 


Temporary Guardianship - Person and Estate (Mental Illness, Mental Retardation, Physical Incapacity or Illness)

Upon petition the Court may, with or without notice, appoint a temporary guardian if it finds that the welfare of a mentally ill or mentally retarded person, or a person unable to communicate informed decisions due to physical incapacity or illness, or a spendthrift requires immediate protection.  The Court may remove or discharge the guardian.

 


Guardianship of Minor Child (ren)

A minor is a person under the age of eighteen years.  A guardian of a minor is an individual appointed by the court who has legal custody of the person or property or both of an individual under the age of eighteen.  The Probate and Family Court, the Juvenile Court, and the District Court have the power to appoint guardians for minors. 

The Court may nominate the guardian if a minor is under the age of fourteen.  A minor aged fourteen or older may, before a justice of the peace, notary public, or municipal clerk, nominate the guardian on the petition.  The Court, after notice to or assent of the parents, will conduct a hearing and appoint a guardian. 

The guardian must prepare and submit to the Court an annual inventory and accounting of the minor's assets.

Grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends can file for guardianship of a minor.   The Petition must be filed in the County where the child is living.   

Sometimes it is necessary to file for Emergency Temporary Guardianship when there is an emergency.  Once you file all your papers with the Court, you will go before the Court that day.  The Court may give you a Temporary Order for Guardianship.  This Temporary Order is only good for 30, 60 or 90 days.  With your Temporary Order of Guardianship, you will also receive instructions on what you MUST do before getting Permanent Guardianship.  All parties need to be notified that you have Temporary Guardianship.

If this is not an emergency and you are looking to file for Guardianship of a Minor Child,   after you file all papers with the Court, a notice needs to be given to other parties.  The other parties are generally the biological mother and father of the child (ren), or any other party that the child (ren) are living with at the time you file your Guardianship petition.  If no objections have been filed, you may present your petition to the Court after the return day. 

 


Conservatorship

A conservator is a person appointed by the Court to manage the property, subject to the direction of the Court, of an individual who is unable to properly manage his or her affairs.  Persons whose property is subject to conservatorship are generally those persons for whom guardians may be appointed 

The conservator must prepare and submit to the Court an annual inventory and accounting of the minor's assets.

 


Temporary Conservatorship

The Court may, upon petition for permanent conservatorship and motion for temporary conservatorship, appoint a temporary conservator for a person of mental weakness or physical incapacity, to care for the ward's property until the appointment of a permanent conservator or the termination of the trust.

 


Proxy Guardianship

A proxy guardianship is a petition that, after allowance by the Court, permits a parent to name a "standby" or emergency guardian to serve as a child's guardian in the event of that parent's incapacitation and inability to care for that child.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    

 

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Departmental Information Links:

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Revised: August 07, 2013 .