Our attorneys help people to establish guardianships in the Delaware Court of Chancery to assist disabled adult family members. (Please note: There are guardianships over children, which are matters brought in Family Court. And there are guardianships over adults, which are matters brought in the Delaware Chancery Court. This page deals with Adult Guardianships in Chancery Court).
A guardianship is a court-ordered and approved relationship where a friend or family member or professional guardian is given power over a legally incompetent person and/or their property. The person who is the subject of the guardianship is called the ward. A ward can be legally incompetent for any number of reasons, most often the incompetence is due to some form of disability. The guardian stands in a position of trust to the ward and manages the ward’s income, assets and other affairs.
There are uncontested guardianships and contested guardianships. In an uncontested guardianship, the ward obtains all the necessary paperwork – a petition, an affidavit of the disabled person’s physician attesting to the need for a guardianship, and consent forms signed by all the next of kin – and files the guardianship matter with the Court of Chancery. The Court then appoints an attorney ad litem. The attorney ad litem investigates the need for the guardianship and the qualifications of the petitioner or proposed guardian to serve as such. The attorney ad litem files a report with the Court and oftentimes the guardianship is granted.
In some cases, the guardianship will be contested. There are several common reasons why the guardianship may be contested. Perhaps the alleged disabled person isn’t really disabled. In one case, one of our attorneys was appointed to serve as an attorney ad litem. He met with the allegedly disabled person who felt she didn’t need a guardian. After several meetings and after review of the alleged disabled person’s medical history, the attorney ad litem was satisfied that she didn’t need a guardian as well. Sometimes family members do not consent to the appointment of a guardian when it is someone with competing interests, or someone they don’t trust. Serving as guardian over someone or over someone’s property gives the guardian great power. Sometimes, family members simply do not agree that the petitioner in a guardianship matter is a trustworthy and reliable candidate to serve as guardian, and that causes the guardianship to become contested. In a contested guardianship, it is best to have an attorney representing your interests.
If you have questions about adult guardianships before the Delaware Court of Chancery, please contact us for a consultation.
We have offices conveniently located to provide expert legal representation in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
Please direct all mail to our
Dover, Delaware office.
Please note that we only accept mail, exparte notice or service of process at our Dover, Delaware office, and DO NOT accept mail, exparte notice or service of process at our regional office locations.