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At age 18, individuals are granted the rights and responsibilities of adulthood under the state and federal law. It is the assumption that these individuals are capable of managing the rights and responsibilities of adulthood. 

Legally, if an individual turns 18 and guardianship or power of attorney is not established, doctors, lawyers, officers of the law, etc. may not communicate with the parents regarding these needs, only the individual may independently respond. 

The process of obtaining guardianship is vital for individuals with disabilities and their families. The process can begin 6 months prior to the individual's 18th birthday. 

Steps to Obtaining Guardianship

Step 1

Fill out the Guardianship Capacity Questionnaire. This form will help you to decide whether guardianship is necessary and what type of guardianship is needed. 

Step 2

Fill out the following forms. You will also need to obtain a copy of your child's last Psychological Assessment (usually performed through the school system).

Step 3
Step 4
Step 5
Step 6
Step 7

Make 5 copies of each of the above forms and the Psychological Assessment to your county Clerk of Superior Court office. A fee of approximately $89.00 will be charged when the papers are filed. 

The court will appoint a guardian ad litem attorney who will call you to set up a time to visit with you and your child. The clerk will then issue a written notice of the guardianship hearing within 5 days of the petition being filed. 

Once the notice is issued, the sheriff's office will serve copies of the petition and the initial notice of hearing on your child and his or her guardian ad litem attorney. (If there is a concern about how your child will react to a uniformed police officer, discuss this with the Clerk of Superior Court, as it is also possible to have your child meet the officer at the court house or Sheriff's Department)

Mail a copy of the petition and notice of hearing to all next of kin. This includes all siblings age 18 and up, plus both the mother and father of your child, even if parents or divorced or absent. There needs to be proof that an attempt has been made to contact them. 

Complete the following forms and make 5 copies of each to take to the hearing.

Step 7

You must qualify as Guardian for the next step. You will need to call the Estates Division to make an appointment (see bottom of page for contact numbers). There will be an additional $89.00 fee for this. Fill out the forms below and take them with you to this appointment. 

Clerk of Superior Court's Office by County

Henderson County      828-694-4100

Buncombe County      828-259-3400

Madison County          828-649-2531

Transylvania County   828-884-3120

Estates Division Office by County

Henderson County      828-694-4100

Buncombe County      828-259-3404

Madison County          828-649-2531

Transylvania County   828-884-3120

North Carolina Guardianship Association
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