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How do I initiate legal guardianship of my daughter with cerebral Palsy. She will be turning 18 in March of 2011.

Lowell, MA |
Attorney answers 3


The forms you will need to file will depend on her level of mental and physical limitations. In addition to the court pleadings, you will need to have a Medical Certificate that clearly details the need for the Guardianship and limits the appointment as possible to allow your daughter to retain independent decision-making as appropriate. You can probably avoid a conservatorship, but if your daughter has assets from any source, you may also need to consider a Conservatorship to handle her finances, although this is probably not necessary in this case. I do not cover the Lowell area, but II recommend that you call Attorney Sasha (E. Alexandra) Golden at 781-433-8665. She is a frequent contributor on this site and is very knowledgeable about the guardianship process in Massachusetts. She is a fellow Board member of the Massachusetts Guardianship Association, where you can also get some additional information ( The Massachusetts Probate and Family Court website is also a great resource (the address is listed on the MGA website). Best of luck.
Judy Flynn
Elder Law Office of Judith M. Flynn
800 Hingham Street, Suite 111N
Rockland, MA 02370
781-681-6639 (fax)


You will need to assemble a clinical "team" to attest to her inability to care for herself. Since it is likely that she is under the care of treating doctors/clinicians, these people would be ideal to use to submit the information to the Probate Court. At least one of these folks should be an md. Then you will have to submit the report within certain time frames but note that the 'Medical Certificate" part of the forms must be submitted to the courtr within 30 days of the "medical" examination.

A lawyer could be helpful to you.


To follow up on Atty Schoenfeld's response, there are different filing requirements for guardianship of a "mentall retarded" person and guardianship of a mentally ill or physically disabled person. The medical certificate is required unless you need to file on the basis of mental retardation, in which case a Clinical Team Report is required, combining the professional opinion of a few professionals rather than just the doctor. CP can run a broad spectrum, so what is filed will depend on whether your daughter falls under the "mentally retarded" umbrella or not. ISome folks with CP are fully functioning and have some physical limitations, but they would not fall under the mental retardation spectrum at all.