What is Guardianship?

Guardianship is a legal arrangement that gives an individual legal authority to make decisions for another person. Guardianship may apply to an adult who is unable to manage their own affairs due to mental or physical incapacitation, or it may apply to a minor.

The primary purpose of legal guardianship is protection of the individual in regards to finances, health care, living arrangements, as well as other issues that impact their well-being.

Because this is a legal arrangement, a court hearing is required. In this hearing, the court will make the ultimate decision on who to appoint as guardian as well as the extent of authority of this guardian. For this reason, many people choose to work with a qualified and experienced attorney when petitioning for guardianship.

Get Experienced Legal Support for the Guardianship Process

At The Law Office of Claudia I. Pringles, PLLC, we understand the importance of protecting your loved one. If you need to petition for guardianship, having an experienced legal team by your side can alleviate much of the stress and confusion around this process.

When you work with us, we assist you in the process from start to finish. This includes appearing in court so you don’t have to do it alone, which is a common concern for many people.

Our services include petitioning for guardianship as well as representing respondents in a range of circumstances including:

  • Individuals with dementia
  • Individuals with a developmental disability
  • Individuals with mental health issues
  • Individuals with other disabilities that impair their ability to manage their own affairs
  • Minor children
  • Emergency guardianship hearings

Learn More About Legal Guardianship in Vermont

Do you have an adult loved one with severe disabilities, cognitive challenges, or mental health concerns who is not able to manage personal and financial affairs on their own? Establishing guardianship can be a critical part of helping them manage their affairs while protecting them from being taken advantage of by others.

Guardianship for Adult Children

Many parents assume that when their child with significant lifelong disabilities turns 18 and becomes a legal adult, they still have the legal right to speak or act on their child’s behalf. However, this is not the case. Because their child is an adult, parents or caregivers must secure legal guardianship in order to make important decisions about health, finances, and other important concerns for their adult child.

Guardianship for Other Adults

In other cases, the need for help with decision-making and managing important matters does not arise until an individual is in their later years. This may occur when a parent develops an age-related disability such as Alzheimer’s, for example. Other situations include the development of more severe mental health concerns or becoming disabled in some other way. Regardless of the specific cause, if you have a loved one who can no longer make decisions on their own, petitioning for guardianship can help you protect them.

POA or Guardianship: Which Do You Need?

A common misconception is that a power of attorney (POA) is a sufficient alternative to guardianship. While this may be the case in some situations, a requirement of a POA is that the individual has the capacity to understand the document they are signing.

In some cases, an individual may not have the capacity to understand and make decisions, so they are unable to execute a POA and appoint a POA agent. In these situations, the only option may be for family members to pursue guardianship through the court in order to protect their loved one.

Providing Legal Representation for Guardianship Matters Throughout Vermont

Our office is conveniently located in downtown Montpelier, Vermont, near the Washington County Courthouse. Because all guardianship hearings are now remote, we provide guardianship services both in-person and virtually via telephone and Zoom for clients across Vermont.

If you need help with a matter related to guardianship, please schedule a consultation with us today to discuss how we can assist you.


Providing Guardianship Legal Services in all Vermont counties including Addison, Bennington, Caledonia, Chittenden, Essex, Franklin, Grand Isle, Lamoille, Orange, Orleans, Rutland, Washington, Windham, and Windsor.