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Court Appointed Guardianship for Adults

Court Appointed Guardianship for Adults involves surrendering some autonomy & consideration of other options is valuable.When considering establishing court appointed guardianship for an adult, it is important to understand the laws around guardianship in Kentucky and the various types of guardianship available, based upon the needs of the adult.  Kentucky Revised Statutes, Chapter 387 is focused explicitly on guardianship in Kentucky and clearly defines the criteria for determining disability which must be met, the court process and responsibilities of guardians.

When the Petitioner (the person who is seeking to protect an adult no longer capable of managing their affairs) begins this process, serious consideration must be given to what other options are available to protect this adult, referred to as the Respondent.  Court appointed guardianship for adults always involves surrendering some autonomy and you want to use this as an option only when other methods of protection are not available. However, there are definitely times when guardianship is the best option for an adult and there are great resources and assistance for people as they navigate the process.

At the Kentucky Guardianship Association, we understand the difficult emotional and legal challenges faced when considering  court appointed guardianship for adults. It is easier to navigate Kentucky guardianship law when you partner with the resources at Kentucky Guardianship Association. Our meetings and trainings assist our membership to understand Kentucky Guardianship law and provide continuing education for the various disciplines that have a role in guardianship.

Visit the Kentucky Guardianship Association website at and watch our video with its easy-to-understand overview of Kentucky guardianship law. Our meetings and trainings assist our membership with understanding Kentucky guardianship law and provide continuing education for the various disciplines that have a role in guardianship. Our downloadable manual, Kentucky Guardianship Manual, is now available online at no charge on our website.

Due to its sensitive nature, guardian law in Kentucky mandates that guardianship cases be confidential. Prior to the actual court appointed guardianship for adults, guardian law calls for a series of steps to occur:

  • A petition is filed by the Petitioner in the district where the person who may need a guardian resides.  This person who may need guardianship is referred to as the Respondent.
  • An evaluation of the Respondent is done by an Interdisciplinary Team consisting of a physician who will do the medical evaluation, a psychologist who will assess mental capacity and a social worker who will review the Respondent's social environment and ability to function.

Each member of the Interdisciplinary Team will write a report and if they do not agree that the adult is disabled (partially or full), the case might not proceed. If members of the team agree on the presence of some disability, the case for a court appointed guardianship for an adult moves forward. The requirement of a trial to determine court appointed guardianship for adults in Kentucky is unique among states and is held clearly with the best interests of all involved. This is not a criminal process; it is a protective process:

  • A hearing is held before a judge and jury. The jury, when presented with clear and convincing evidence, makes the determination on disability. Guardianship is deemed appropriate when it is determined that the Respondent is disabled or partially disabled. Minus the disability determination, a guardian will not be appointed. 
  • A determination of disability is required in order to appoint a guardian, whether full or limited guardianship or full or partial conservatorship (when only property is involved).
  • Limited guardianship and limited conservatorship are excellent options when an adult is able to handle some matters but needs help with others. While retaining some independence, but receiving help in areas where ability to manage is limited, this adult is protected from making poor decisions or being exploited by another.

You will find it easier to navigate the process of court appointed guardianship for adults when you tap into the resources at KGA at