Guardianship

When an individual is incapable of adequately providing for his or her personal needs or is unable to manage his or her personal finances and family or friends are unable to provide assistance, it may be necessary to seek the appointment of a guardian or conservator. 

Appropriate petitions may include, but are not limited to:

  • An adult who is unable to meet his her own daily needs due to profound mental illness or dementia (ex. bills go unpaid, starvation, poor hygiene, incidents of wandering).
  • Allegations of abuse, neglect or financial exploitation by a caretaker.
  • An adult diagnosed with an intellectual or developmental disability.
  • Serious accidents that result in trauma to the brain impacting the person’s ability to care for him or her self.
  • Frequent referrals to The Cabinet for Health and Family Services: Adult Protective Services Division.

Any person concerned with the welfare of an individual may file a petition for guardianship. The concerned person will be the petitioner and the other individual will be the respondent on court documents.  The County Attorney’s Office will assist the petitioner in filing out the petition prior to filing it with the court.  Once the petition is filed, the County Attorney acts as a representative of the Commonwealth.  A petition can be obtained from the Administrative Office of the Courts by following the link below or from the Pulaski County Circuit Court Clerk at 50 Public Square Somerset, KY 42502.

After a petition for determination of disability is filed, the trial should be scheduled within 60 days. In this time, the respondent must be examined by an interdisciplinary team which includes: a physician, social worker and psychologist. Each team member assesses the respondent individually and drafts a report to present to the court.  It is the petitioner’s responsibility to insure that the respondent is available to be evaluated by each of the team members. 

Under present Kentucky law, only a jury can make the determination whether a person is in fact disabled. Once all three interdisciplinary reports mentioned above are submitted to the court, a jury trial will be held to determine whether or not an individual is deemed disabled.  If the jury so finds, it is then up to the judge to decide who should be appointed as guardian or conservator for that individual. All proceedings are confidential and limited to petitioner and those friends and family that the Respondent may wish to have present.

If it is believed that the health, safety, welfare, property, or financial resources of an individual are in imminent danger, a concerned individual may file a petition for an emergency hearing.  The petition will require supporting facts about why the individual is alleged to be in imminent danger and in most cases, will need to be accompanied by a note from a medical professional.  You can obtain an Emergency Petition by following the link below or from the Pulaski County Circuit Court Clerk at 50 Public Square Somerset, KY 42502.  

If you have a loved one that is unable to manage his or her personal or financial affairs, please read the information contained in the links below.  Once you have done so, contact our office at 606-679-4449 and ask to speak with June Wesley.