Probate Court

Developmentally Disabled Individuals

A person with a Developmental Disability means either of the following:

  • If applied to an individual older than 5 years, a severe, chronic condition that meets all of the following requirements:
    • Is attributable to a mental or physical impairment or a combination of mental and physical impairments.
    • Is manifested before the individual is 22 years old.
    • Is likely to continue indefinitely.
  • Results in substantial functional limitation in 3 or more of the following areas of major life activity:
    • Self-care
    • Receptive and expressive language
    • Learning
    • Mobility
    • Self-direction
    • Capacity for independent living
    • Economic self-sufficiency

A guardian for a person with Developmental Disability may be appointed by the Probate Court. To obtain the appointment a petition for the appointment of a guardian must be filed with the court. In addition, a report must accompany the petition. The report consists of the following evaluations that must have been completed within 12 months from the date of the filing of the petition. The required evaluations are: Mental, Physical, Social, Educational, Adaptive Behavior and Social Skills.

Once the petition and report is filed with the court, a hearing will be set, and an attorney will be appointed by the court for the subject of the petition. At the hearing a psychiatrist or psychologist, who prepared the report, must testify as to the need for the appointment of a guardian. After the hearing, the court may appoint a guardian for the individual. In the order appointing the guardian, the court will indicate what powers the guardian may exercise in regards to person and estate of the Developmentally Disabled person.