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Guardian Ad Litem Attorneys in Rhode Island

According to Rhode Island General Laws, whenever an adult guardianship petition is filed with the probate court, a Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) is appointed for the person for whom the guardianship is being sought (the ward).

The Guardian Ad Litem is usually an attorney although it can be any person who is capable of understanding the role and responsibilities of the GAL and who is experienced in dealing with elderly persons and persons with disabilities and/or incapacities. The GAL is charged with conducting an independent investigation in order to answer the following questions: Does the proposed ward want a guardian? Does the proposed ward need a guardian? Is the proposed guardian a suitable choice?

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In answering these questions and reporting to the probate court, the GAL must personally visit the proposed ward, explain the nature, purpose and legal effect of the appointment of a guardian, and inform the proposed ward of the right to contest the guardianship petition, to be present at the hearing and to be represented by counsel. The proposed ward is also given the opportunity to object to the particular person who is seeking to be named guardian and/or request limits be put on the guardian’s powers. The purpose of the Guardian Ad Litem is to protect the proposed ward and to make sure that these important questions are addressed before the court hearing.

The attorneys in our office have been appointed on many occasions by probate courts throughout the state to act as Guardian Ad Litem in guardianship matters. The investigation and subsequent written report to the court are matters not to be taken lightly. Guardianship is a restrictive measure that is appropriate only when a person is incapable of making informed decisions regarding their own health care, residence, finances or association. The GAL’s report will assist the probate court judge in making the determination whether or not to grant the guardianship petition.

The Law Offices of Howe and Garside LTD are staffed by Rhode Island Elder Law Attorneys serving clients in RI towns surrounding Newport, RI such as Middletown, Portsmouth, Jamestown, North Kingston, South Kingston, Wakefield, Tiverton, and beyond.