A guardian is one who has the care of the person or property of another. Persons who may be eligible for guardianship are developmentally disabled, incompetent, a minor, a spendthrift, or have the infirmities of aging. A guardian is appointed by the court to take care of the “person” and/or the “estate” (i.e. property) of a ward.
The guardian of the person makes decisions relating to the physical placement of the ward, the medical treatment and control over the daily life of the ward. Once a year, the guardian of the person is required to file an “Annual Report on the Condition of the Ward” with the Probate Office.
The guardian of the estate takes possession of the ward’s property, provides an inventory to the court of that property, and provides yearly annual accounts to the court of how the ward’s assets have been maintained and spent. The guardian of the estate must protect and preserve the property of the ward while taking into account the best interests and needs of the ward.
Sometimes a ward must be “protectively placed”. A protective placement is a placement of a ward for the primary purpose of providing care and custody.
The Fond du Lac County Guardianship Work Group (comprised of staff from the Fond du Lac County Corporation Counsel; Fond du Lac County Department of Community Programs; Fond du Lac County Department of Social Services (ADRC); Fond du Lac County Probate; Corporate Guardians of Northeast Wisconsin; Lakeland Care District and Community Care) have developed an Informational Folder for Guardians which is provided to each guardian upon appointment by the Court.
The Wisconsin Guardianship Association (WGA); Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) and the Wisconsin Division of Quality Assurance (DQA) have developed web-casts that may be very helpful to guardians.
Both of the above resources are very useful in assisting guardians in their roles advocating for their wards.