Written by attorney Thomas Edge

Kentucky – Guardianship/Conservatorship Process

Kentucky – Guardianship/Conservatorship Process

By: Tom Edge, [email protected]

In Kentucky, the Guardianship and/or Conservatorship process is the steps involved in getting a person declared incompetent due to disability to either take care of the physical needs (day to day requirements such as eating) or financial requirements (such as paying bills). The physical daily needs are taken care of for the disabled through the appointment of a guardian and the financial requirements are taken care of by a conservator. The law regarding Guardianships and Conservatorships is codified in Kentucky Revised Statute chapter 387. This guide will take highlight the basic steps involved in having a person declared disabled and having a guardian and/or conservator appointed in Kentucky.

Step 1. To start the process, an individual concerned with the welfare of the disabled (friend, family, or medical entity) can file a petition with the district court in the county where the disabled lives along with an application for appointment as guardian or conservator for that person.

Step 2. Upon receipt and review of the petition, the court will appoint a guardian ad litum (attorney that represents the best interest of the disabled, not the disabled person themselves) and setup for the disabled to examined by 3 separate medical providers (typically a physician, a psychologist, and a social worker). Each provider will file a report after the examination with the court.

Step 3. After the reports have been filed, the district court will hold a trial by jury to decide whether the disabled is fully or partially disabled in his or her personal and/or financial affairs. This trial is typically not as adversial as other civil and criminal cases as the parties on each side are the State (represented by the County Attorney’s Office) whose goal is the safety and welfare of the disabled and society at large, and the Guardian Ad Litum whose goal is the disabled persons best interest.

Step 4. If the person is not found disabled, this will end the process. If there person is found to be either fully or partially disabled in either his or her personal or financial affairs, the Court will review the applications for guardian and/or conservator and designate a person to fill that role. If there are competing interest for the position, the court will appoint someone temporarily, and hold a hearing at a later date to determine the final permanent guardian and/or conservator.

Step 5. After appointment by the judge, the guardian and/or conservator will be sworn in by the judge and given any special instructions if needed. Typically, a guardian/conservator will be required to keep track of their time working with the disabled and account for financials involved with the disabled and report that information to the court in set intervals.


The content of legal guide has been prepared for informational purposes only and is not legal advice or legal opinion and should not be relied upon for individual situations. If you find yourself in need of legal advice for your individual situation, you should consult and retain an attorney.

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