Public Guardianship for Adults Age 60 and Over Who Have a Mental Disability

A Public Guardian may be appointed by the Probate Court for an adult age 60 years and older who has a mental disability if it finds that there is no suitable and willing family member or friend to serve as guardian and the person needs a guardian. Every effort to locate a suitable private guardian must be made before a Public Guardian may be appointed.

To find that a person needs a guardian, the Probate Court must find that the person lacks capacity to make important life decisions, AND is unable to manage his/her own personal care and/or financial affairs without the supervision of a guardian. Eccentricity or poor judgment alone are NOT criteria for guardianship, nor is guardianship appropriate if less invasive solutions to a senior's well-being can be implemented.

The procedures for appointing a Public Guardian for a mentally disabled adult age 60 or over are the same as for appointing a Private Guardian.

Based on the individual's needs, the Court grants the guardian one or more of six guardianship powers, which give the guardian authority to make certain decisions on behalf of the person in need of guardianship, most often involving financial issues, medical needs, and/or placement decisions. Under the supervision of the Court, the guardian maintains contact with the person in need of guardianship, monitors any care or services the person may be receiving, and encourages the maximum independence and self-determination of the person under guardianship.

For more information on public guardianship for an adult age 60 and older who has a mental disability may contact:

Office of Public Guardian
Intake and Diversion Specialist
PO Box 87
Townsend VT 05353
Phone: (802) 355-9846
Department of Disabilities, Aging, and Independent Living
Office of Public Guardian
81 River Street, Suite 208
Montpelier, VT 05609-2210
Phone: (802) 828-3623