Ending a Guardianship

All Guardians eventually must come to an end.  Of course, there are several reasons why Guardians must end.   Examples are:

  • The ward has died
  • The ward no longer needs a guardian
  • The guardian has a personal reason (for example, is moving to another state) or is no longer able to perform all the duties that are required
  • The judge wants to end the Guardian because he or she is dissatisfied with the guardian
NOTE:   Whatever the reason is for ending the Guardian, you may not just stop on your own.  In order to formally end your responsibilities you must ask the judge to discharge you and ask for permission to submit a “final accounting”.

If your ward has died you must send the judge a copy of the Death Certificate. You must also inform all other relevant parties such as: the Social Security Administration or the Veterans Administration, your ward’s pension plan, Medicaid if your ward was receiving Medicaid benefits, the executor of your ward’s estate or the Public Administrator, if your ward did not have a will,  and of course next of kin.  All parties should be sent a copy of your ward’s Death Certificate.

If you were your ward’s Guardian for Property Management your obligation to manage your ward’s funds is now greatly reduced - from now on you are only allowed to pay some outstanding bills for services rendered while your ward was still alive (for instance homecare expenses), the annual premium for the bond which remains in effect until you are officially discharged, and your wards funeral bills.  All other financial management tasks must be turned over to the executor of your ward’s estate or to the Public Administrator, if you ward did not have a will.

Upon the death of the I.P (ward), the guardian must perform specific duties within a certain time frame.  This includes:

  • Preparing a Statement of Death (see explanation below)
  • Serving and filing the statement to the court examiner and whoever is responsible for taking care of the deceased estate such as the personal representative, public administrator or someone else legally responsible.  (see explanation below)  This is to be done within 20 days of your wards death.
  • Preparing a Statement of assets and notice of claim and serving the personal representative or public administrator.
  • Turning over all property to the personal representative or public administrator except for the property that the guardian needs to retain for known debts and administrative fees.  This is to be done within 150 days of your wards death.  
  • Completing the necessary steps to file a final account.  This is to be done within 150 days of your wards death.

Statement of Death
A "Statement of Death contains:

  • The caption and index number of the guardianship proceeding. 
  • It also will have the name and address of the last residence of the deceased incapacitated person 
  • The date and place of death.
  • The names and addresses of all the people named in the Order and Judgment
  • The name of the personal representative, if any.

Personal Representative
"Personal representative is the person who has been legally authorized to marshal the assets of the deceased person.

Public Administrator or Chief Fiscal Officer of a County
In the event there is no Personal Representative or anyone else named in a will or trust, a public official should receive the Statement of Death and Statement of Assets and Notice of Claim.

Statement of Assets and Notice of Claim
This a written statement under oath containing the caption and index number of the guardianship proceeding, the name and address of the incapacitated person at the time of death, a description of the nature and approximate value of guardianship property at the time of the incapacitated person's death; with the approximate amount of any claims, debts or liens against the guardianship property, including but not limited to Medicaid liens, tax liens and administrative costs, with an itemization and the approximate amount of such costs and claims or liens.

NOTE:  Though many of your duties after your appointment as a guardian can be done without hiring a lawyer to assist, you may want to hire one to handle the termination of the guardianship. These steps may be complicated and may require professional assistance.