Terminating a Guardianship

Guardianships terminate automatically when a child turns 18 OR when the ward dies.

A guardian may NOT move to another state with the ward without first petitioning the court to request permission to move.

  • If the guardian moves without first getting permission, the court may terminate the guardianship.
  • A parent may file a Petition to Terminate Guardianship of their minor child.

The packets for terminating guardianship can be obtained at your local court. . The forms will need to be completed and filed, and a parent seeking to terminate the guardianship will need to serve the guardian and the other parent (unless that parent is unknown, dead, his or her rights were terminated, or the parent filing the petition had sole custody).

Service can be effectuated either: personally, with 10 days’ notice before the hearing; or by certified mail, at least 20 days before the hearing.

If the parent consented to the guardianship when the guardianship was granted, the parent only needs to show that he or she can now care for the child.

  • The court will look for 6 months of stable employment, 6 months of stable housing, no drugs/alcohol issues, and no current criminal involvement/charges.
  •  If the parent did not consent to the guardianship, and the court appointed the guardian after a trial, the parent will have to prove that he or she can now care for the child AND that the guardians can NOT now care for the child.

The court may choose to remove a guardian if:

  • The guardian becomes disqualified, mentally incompetent, unsuitable, or otherwise unable to serve as guardian.
  • The guardian of an estate did not properly manage the ward’s assets.
  • The guardian failed to perform any duty required by law or the court.
  • It is in the ward’s best interest to appoint another guardian.
  • The ward has recovered mentally or physically and no longer needs a guardian.

The ward or a non-parent relative may also file a Petition to Terminate guardianship but he or she must serve the guardian, the ward, and the second degree relatives (parents, grandparents, siblings) with the Petition to Terminate.

Service of the family members can be done by personally serving them at least 10 days before the hearing or by certified mailing at least 20 days before the hearing.

Unless the parties agree to terminate the guardianship AND the guardianship is no longer needed or there is an appropriate person to become the new guardian, the court will hold a hearing. The person asking to terminate guardianship will need to show that:

  • Guardianship is no longer needed or that another qualified person (possible him or herself) has filed a petition to become a new or “successor” guardian AND
  • That it is not in the best interest of the ward for the current guardian to continue being guardian.

If a guardianship of the estate is ended, the former guardian must file a final accounting:

  • Within 30 days if the guardian is removed OR
  • Within 90 days if the guardianship is terminated by any other way.

After the guardianship is terminated, the guardian must return all of the ward’s property to the ward or to the ward’s new guardian (if a new guardian was appointed.)