Being a Guardian is often a thankless job. The role requires taking on many duties that are not glamorous. Sometimes it is actually difficult to find a family member willing to serve, especially in situations in which the person in need of protection is mentally ill, combative, or lacks assets. This thankless job requires a deep understanding of the responsibilities of a Guardian.

A Guardian is a person appointed by a probate court and given the power and responsibility to make certain decisions about the care of the protected person.  These decisions might include treatment decisions or where the protected person should live.  The guardian’s powers are limited to decisions regarding the care and custody of the protected person. A guardian may be needed when a person is unable to manage their personal affairs because of mental illness, dementia, age, infirmity, physical illness, disability, or chronic use of alcohol or intoxicants.

A Guardian is needed for a minor when the parent(s) have permitted a minor to reside with another person a guardian may be appointed.  When a minor is unmarried and parental rights have been terminated or suspended for some reason a guardian may be appointed.

The statutory powers of a Guardian are pretty broad. A Guardian is responsible for the protected person’s care, custody, and control.  The Guardian has a duty to achieve the best possible state of well being for the protected person.

To ensure that the Guardian is fulfilling their responsibilities the probate court requires the Guardian to at least yearly report the status of the file. Each year, on the anniversary date of the original appointment of the Guardian, the probate court requires the completion and filing of a state court approved form called the Annual Report of Guardian. This report must be completed by the Guardian yearly or more often if directed by the court.

The Annual Report of Guardian is a pretty simple document to complete.  Most of the items on the pre-approved form are “check-boxes.”  The Annual Report of Guardian requests information regarding the person’s living arrangements, physical health, mental health, social activities, and a description of the number of visits made by the Guardian. The Annual Report of Guardian requires the Guardian to state whether the person has any unmet needs and whether the Guardianship should be continued or not continued for another year.

The Guardian must serve the completed Annual Report of Guardian on the ward and all interested persons as required by Michigan Court Rules. Then the Guardian must complete a Proof of Service and file it and the report with the court.

The Probate Pro can assist in Guardianship proceedings and with the requisite filing of the Annual Report of Guardian.