Guardianship in Massachusetts | Children | Elderly Parents | Grandparents

A guardianship is a method of insuring the safety and well-being of those who are incapable of caring for themselves. There are guardianships of children in the case where the child’s parents are unable to parent. There are guardianships of adults as well.

Guardianship for Children: Massachusetts guardianship law allows a parent or parents to nominate a person to take care and custody of a child in the event of death or incapacity.  Under Massachusetts law, the courts give great consideration to a guardian nominated by a parent.   A nomination must be written and signed by the parent.  Generally, in Massachusetts, a nomination of a legal guardian is included in the provisions of a Last Will and Testament.

When no nomination exists, a judge must decide who your children will go to.  Without any written nomination of a parent, the court will be left with little direct evidence of who the parent would have wanted to love, support, and raise the child.

Massachusetts guardianships fall into two categories: person guardianship and estate guardianship.  A person guardianship allows a court-appointed guardian to make decisions on a minor’s behalf, just as a parent would.  In other words, a guardianship of the person gives a guardian general custody of a child and all the decisions that accompany such a position, except for any financial decisions.  Alternatively, a guardianship of the estate gives a court-appointed guardian the ability to make any financial decisions on behalf of the minor child, as well as manage any money the child may have in his or her name.

Guardianship for Adults: A guardianship is an extraordinary measure and, in the case of adults, should only be considered when a person’s judgment or incapacity poses a major threat to that person’s welfare.

A legal guardianship can be among the most traumatic experiences in family law. At Fields and Dennis, LLP, our practitioners will represent and guide the client through this difficult process with compassion and skill.

More information about guardianship:

Case law
Belchertown v. Sakiewicz
Fazio v. Fazio
Guardianship of Roe
Matter of Moe

Contact the guardianship attorneys at Fields and Dennis LLP to discuss your estate planning needs.