Guardianship - Grand Traverse County Probate Court

There are 3 types of guardianships granted and overseen by the Probate Court; guardianships for adults, guardianships for minors and guardianships for individuals with developmental disabilities.


Adult guardianships are used when an individual is impaired by:
  • Chronic intoxication
  • Chronic use of drugs
  • Mental deficiency
  • Mental illness
  • Physical illness or disability
  • Some other cause so that they lack sufficient understanding or capacity to make or communicate informed decisions and need someone to make such decisions for them.


Minor guardianships are used to provide legal authority for adults, other than the parents of the minor, to take care of the minor for a short or long time because the parent or parents of the minor are unwilling or unable to safely and adequately care for their child. While a minor guardianship is in place, the guardian, and not the parent, has the right and responsibility to make decisions about and care for the minor child.

Developmental Disabilities

Developmentally disabled guardianships are used under the Mental Health Code. "Developmental disability" means, for a person more than five years old, a severe, chronic condition:
  • That is attributable to mental or physical impairments or a combination of mental and physical impairments
  • That is likely to continue indefinitely
  • That manifested before the person is 22
  • That reflects the individual's need for long-term special, interdisciplinary, or generic care, treatment, or other services
  • That results in substantial functional limitations in 3 or more of the following areas: 
    • Capacity for independent living
    • Economic self-sufficiency
    • Learning
    • Mobility
    • Receptive and expressive language
    • Self-care
    • Self-direction
MCL 330.110a(21)(a). From birth to age 5, developmental disability means a substantial developmental delay or a specific congenital or acquired condition with a high probability of resulting in a developmental disability as defined.

A guardianship for a developmentally disabled person should be undertaken only to promote and protect the well being of the individual and encourage the development of maximum self-reliance for the individual. The guardianship should be limited by the court based on the developmentally disabled individual's actual mental and adaptive limitations.