Iron County
Human Services Department & Associates

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Guardianship

A guardian is a court-appointed decision-maker for an individual who is not able to make their own decisions; usually appointed based on one of the one of the following: developmental disabilities, memory loss, chronic and serious mental illness, substance abuse issues or other conditions that limit their decision making ability. The court may appoint the guardian as the guardian of the person, guardian of the person's estate, or both. To proceed with guardianship a medical doctor or licensed psychologist must complete an examination of the individual, find that the individual is no longer competent, and be available to testify if the guardianship is contested.

State Laws Regarding Guardianships

Guardianships and Protective Orders are defined in Wisconsin Statues Chapters 54 and 55. They are legal methods for appointing an alternative decision-maker and identifying required services for individuals who are legally incompetent. These individuals are usually people with one of the conditions listed above.


While positive outcomes are usually the result of guardianship and/or protective placement orders, these legal processes limit or remove rights to which individuals in our society are normally entitled. Care must be taken to protect each individual's rights while assuring that individuals who are legally incompetent receive the support and services they need