Milwaukee Guardianship Attorneys

Guardianship Lawyers: Your Partners in Care and Custody

Niebler Pyzyk’s experienced guardianship attorneys specialize in navigating the intricacies of guardianship law in Wisconsin. With a deep understanding of estate planning and guardianship laws in Wisconsin, we are committed to providing high-level legal services tailored to your circumstances. Whether you're looking to establish guardianship, modify existing arrangements or ensure the best interests of your loved ones, our guardianship lawyers are here to help!

Contact Guardianship Lawyers

Guardianship attorney in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

What is Legal Guardianship?

In Wisconsin, a unique aspect of guardianship law is the concept of "Guardianship of the Person," which allows the court to consider the "least restrictive alternative" principle. This means that when appointing a guardian, the court must explore options which are least restrictive on the individual's personal freedoms and decision-making abilities. Wis. Stat. § 54.01(18) attempts to balance the goals of protecting the individual from abuse, exploitation and neglect with the need to respect the individual's right to self-determination.

Types of Guardianships in Wisconsin

  1. Temporary Guardianship: A temporary guardian is appointed to make decisions for a limited period, often during emergencies or while awaiting the outcome of a full guardianship proceeding. The temporary guardianship expires in 60 days but can be renewed for a second 60-day period.

  2. Guardianship of the Estate: A guardian of the estate is responsible for managing the financial affairs, assets and property of the ward. This includes handling financial transactions, paying bills, managing investments and handling other financial matters.

  3. Guardianship of the Person: This type of guardianship involves making decisions related to the personal care, medical treatment and living arrangements of the ward. The guardian of the person is responsible for ensuring the ward's well-being and safety.

  4. Guardianship of the Incompetent Person: This type of guardianship is specific to individuals with developmental disabilities. The guardian is responsible for making decisions related to the care, treatment and well-being of the individual.

  5. Guardianship of Minor: In cases where parents are unable or unwilling to care for their minor children, the court may appoint a guardian to take on the parental responsibilities and make decisions for the children's well-being until they are 18 years old.

  6. Guardianship ad Litem: This is a temporary type of guardianship appointed by the court to represent the best interests of a minor child or an incapacitated individual in legal proceedings. A Guardian ad Litem's role is to provide an independent assessment and make recommendations to the court.

Legal Guardianship for Adults with Disabilities

We understand the importance of upholding the rights and autonomy of individuals while supporting their well-being and protection. Whether you're considering guardianship, exploring alternative options like supported decision-making or need assistance with the legal process, our guardianship lawyers in Milwaukee provide expert advice and representation. Our goal is to ensure the best interests of the individual are upheld, and we will work diligently to create a guardianship arrangement that respects their wishes and preferences.

Limited Guardianship for a Minor

Unlike full guardianship, which grants the guardian authority over all aspects of the minor's life, limited guardianship focuses on addressing specific areas where the minor requires assistance while allowing them to retain decision-making capacity in other areas. Limited guardianship is designed to provide a balance between ensuring the minor's well-being and autonomy. It is typically sought when it's determined the minor is capable of making some decisions independently and needs assistance in specific matters due to cognitive, developmental or other limitations.


Wisconsin's 9-Step Guardianship Process

The guardianship process in Wisconsin can be intricate and nuanced, and navigating it requires a comprehensive understanding of the legal landscape. Enlist the guidance of a skilled attorney with extensive experience in guardianship matters to gain invaluable insights and ensure strict adherence to relevant laws and procedural requirements. This safeguards the best interests of all parties involved, facilitating a smooth and legally sound guardianship process.

  1. Determine the Need for Guardianship: Evaluate if the individual (minor or incompetent adult) requires a guardian to make decisions on their behalf.
  2. File a Petition: File a petition for guardianship with the appropriate county circuit court. Include relevant information about the proposed ward (the individual in need of a guardian) and the proposed guardian.
  3. Serve Notice: Serve notice of the guardianship petition to the proposed ward, their interested parties (e.g., parents, spouse, adult children) and any other required individuals or entities.
  4. Appoint a Guardian ad Litem: The court will appoint a guardian ad litem (GAL) to represent the best interests of the proposed ward during the guardianship proceedings.
  5. Attend the Hearing: Participate in a court hearing, where the judge will consider evidence and testimony to determine if guardianship is appropriate and in the proposed ward's best interests.
  6. Court Decision: The court will decide whether to appoint a guardian and, if so, the specific powers and duties of the guardian.
  7. Letters of Guardianship: If a guardian is appointed, the court will issue letters of guardianship, which serve as official documentation of the guardian's authority.
  8. Guardian's Responsibilities: The appointed guardian must follow the court's orders and any applicable laws, including filing annual reports on the ward's well-being and financial status.
  9. Modification or Termination of Guardianship: If circumstances change, the guardianship may be modified or terminated through a court process initiated by the guardian, ward or other interested parties.


Frequently Asked Questions on Guardianship in WI

What is the process for establishing guardianship in Wisconsin?

Establishing guardianship in Wisconsin involves filing a petition with the appropriate court, providing notice to all interested parties, attending a hearing and obtaining a court order appointing a guardian.

Who can petition for guardianship in Wisconsin?

In Wisconsin, any interested person, such as a family member or concerned individual, can petition for guardianship by filing the necessary forms with the court.

What are the responsibilities of a guardian in Wisconsin?

The responsibilities of a guardian in Wisconsin include making decisions regarding the care, custody and financial matters of the incapacitated person, while always acting in their best interests.

How does the court determine if guardianship is necessary?

The court determines if guardianship is necessary by evaluating evidence presented during a hearing, including medical assessments, testimony from witnesses and the individual's capacity to make decisions.

Can guardianship arrangements be modified or terminated in Wisconsin?

Yes, guardianship arrangements in Wisconsin can be modified or terminated by petitioning the court and demonstrating a change in circumstances or the individual's improved capacity to make decisions.

Can a Legal Guardian Deny Visitation?

Yes, a legal guardian in Wisconsin has the authority to make decisions regarding visitation with family members, friends or others for the person under their guardianship. However, the extent to which visitation can be denied depends on the specific circumstances, the terms of the guardianship order and the best interests of the individual.

How Hard is it to Terminate Guardianship in Wisconsin?

Terminating guardianship in Wisconsin requires proving to the courts that it is no longer necessary. While this may seem straightforward, the court considers factors such as the best interest of the Ward and may not agree to appoint a new guardian. Niebler Pyzyk provides guidance through the complex legal process involved in terminating guardianship in Wisconsin.


Wisconsin Guardian Termination Forms

  1. Petition for Termination of Guardianship of the Person or Estate (Adult Guardianship)

  2. Petition for Termination of Guardianship of the Estate (Minor)

  3. Request to Modify Terminate Extend Limited or Temporary Reconsider or Modify Emergency
    Guardianship (Minor Guardianship of the Person)

  4. Order on Request to Terminate Guardianship (§48.9795, Wis. Stats.)


Contact Niebler Pyzyk for a guardianship attorney serving Milwaukee, West Allis, Wauwatosa, Hartland, Grafton, Brookfield, New Berlin, Waukesha, West Bend, Oak Creek and the surrounding Southeast, WI communities.
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