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The best plan to avoid the possible need for a future imposition of a court-ordered guardian or conservator is by preparing valid and thorough legal documents while you are capable of doing so. These might include a Financial Power of Attorney and an Advance Health Care Directive or possibly a trust. But some individuals never plan, or they prepare legal documents that are not sufficient. In that case, it may be necessary for a person or the State of Maine to petition the Probate Court to appoint a guardian and/or conservator for the individual.

The Probate Court will appoint a guardian for an individual who is incapacitated and unable to make or communicate responsible decisions regarding his or her physical needs. The Probate Court may appoint a conservator for an individual who is unable to manage his or her money and property. When we meet with an individual regarding potential guardianship and conservatorship, we often provide a copy of this handbook published by the Maine Department of Health and Human Services.