A guardian is a person or organization appointed by a court to exercise care, custody, and control on behalf of a person who is not able to make their own decisions because of an impairment that makes the individual unable to effectively receive, evaluate, or make decisions for their health, safety, and financial affairs. Wisconsin recognizes two types of guardianship: guardianship of the person and guardianship of the estate. Guardian of person may be given the authority from the court to make decisions such as providing informed consent for health care and medication, deciding where the individual (the ward) will live, and deciding who will provide social and supportive services for the ward. Guardian of estate may be given the authority from the court to manage the ward’s money and other property. To proceed with a guardianship a medical doctor or licensed psychologist must complete an examination of the individual, find that the individual is no longer competent and be available to testify in court on the behalf of the evaluation they complete. Only the court can appoint a guardian and the judge will consider many different sources of information such as from a doctor, psychologist, family, and friends prior to making the decision.

Wisconsin Statute Chapter 54 should be referenced for a detailed explanation of the legal guidelines published for Guardianship and Conservatorships.

For additional information please see the Wisconsin Adult Guardianship Handbook and the Guardianship Support Center.