What is a Guardian?                                                                             

A Guardian is usually a person who is appointed by the court and authorized to make decisions for another person; sometimes known as a “Ward.”  The Guardians are appointed for individuals who the court determines not capable of managing their own affairs.  The Court considers most minors of being incapable of managing their own affairs and when the minor’s parents or the child’s parents are unable or unavailable to make decisions for the minor, a Guardian has to be appointed for the children and they can be authorized to make personal, financial, medical and other treatment decisions.

What is a Guardian of a Minor in Massachusetts?

Parents are presumed to be the Custodian or the Guardians of their children until they turn 18.  However, the Court usually the Juvenile Court or the Probate and Family Court may appoint a separate Guardian for the minor child; even if the parents are alive, when it finds that an appointment as a Guardian is necessary.  The Guardian is appointed for a minor in situations where the parents are unable to care for the child and that can be due to a death, mental health issue or other circumstances that place the child at risk.

Parents can recommend a Guardian in their Wills and the parents can assent to a Guardianship, but it can also be contested.

In Massachusetts is a Guardian of a Minor able to allow Medical Treatment without a Specific Court Order?

 Many times, they are. However, sometimes when the medical treatment is being dealt with by certain state agencies, a Guardian needs to consent to what is called a “Extraordinary Medical Treatment.”  There may be a need for a specific authorization or order. For example: anti-psychotic medication, sometimes treatment to a mental health facility and other circumstances.