A guardian is a person appointed by a court to manage the affairs of a person who is incapacitated. An incapacitated individual is a person who is unable to effectively receive and/or evaluate information or make or communicate decisions to such a degree that the individual lacks the ability to take care of his/her basic needs of physical health, safety or self-care.

Learn about times when a guardian will be appointed:What is Guardianship

  1. A guardian may be appointed to manage the financial affairs of a person at significant risk of harm because of a demonstrated inability to adequately manage property or financial affairs. This is referred to as Guardian of an Estate.
  2. A guardian may be appointed to make health care and other non-financial decisions for a person at significant risk of harm because of a demonstrated inability to adequately provide for nutrition, health, housing or physical safety. This is referred to as Guardian of the Person.
  3. A guardian may be appointed to be both Guardian of both the Person and the Estate.

Corporate Guardianship

If you are seeking guardianship on behalf of another individual and are looking for a corporate guardian, Wisconsin Department of Health Services provides a Corporate Guardianship Agency Directory. A corporate guardianship is a corporation or individual established to provide guardianship services for individuals who have no close family or other support systems and who need legal protection.

Volunteer Guardians

It is often assumed that everyone has family or friends willing to assist them when they lose the ability to make their own decisions. Unfortunately not everyone has someone willing to be responsible for decision making. Because seniors are the fastest growing segment of our population, the need for volunteer guardians will only continue to increase. Your willingness to serve in the role of Volunteer Guardian to help someone with making decisions is needed.


  • Attend an appointment hearing at County Probate Court
  • Make a minimum of one case contact per month (phone, in-person or email)
  • Participate in care conferences at the ward's facility (if applicable)
  • Submit an Annual Report on the Condition of the Ward as required by the Court
  • Visit your ward one time a month in person


  • Attend a training and receive a copy of the publication provided by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, Guardianship for Adults
  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Complete an application
  • Complete a background check
  • Have reliable transportation

Reports & Evaluations of Guardians

  • Annual Plan for Guardianship - Informs the Court where the ward will be living and of any planned care changes
  • Guardian's Annual Report - This tells the court how the ward is doing, where the ward is residing, any changes in the ward's circumstances and any changes in the ward's circumstances and your contact with the ward.
  • Statement of Expert Evaluation - This form must be completed by a Licensed Physician, Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Licensed Independent Social Worker, Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor or the ward's DD service provider team. It must be less than 90 days old.