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How do you become a guardian in Wisconsin?

You may find that a family member or loved one in Wisconsin is unable to care for himself or herself due to certain circumstances. This can occur when parents are unable to care for a minor child or an adult becomes incapacitated and is no longer able to make decisions as a result. 

You may wish to help by taking on the responsibility of becoming a guardian to the individual in need. In order to act on this charitable impulse, you must meet the requirements set forth by the state in regard to applications, deadlines and fees.

According to the Wisconsin Register in Probate Association, there is a distinction between a temporary guardianship and a permanent guardianship. Initially, a temporary guardianship lasts for 60 days. Before that time elapses, you may apply to extend the temporary guardianship for another 60 days. However, you can only receive one extension of your temporary guardianship, meaning that the maximum length is 120 days. 

Whether you are applying for temporary or permanent guardianship, you must apply in your intended ward's county of residence, if different from your own. You will need to fill out paperwork and then submit the necessary documentation to the Register in Probate office. Authorities in that office will then open a file for you. This allows officials to set a hearing date and appoint a judge to hear your case. You will also be responsible for paying court fees, amounts of which vary based on the type of guardianship you are seeking.

Though it may be helpful, it is not required for you to obtain legal representation for yourself when seeking guardianship. However, it is your responsibility to retain a Guardian ad Litem to act on behalf of your intended ward and represent his or her best interests.

The information in this article is not intended as legal advice but provided for educational purposes only.

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