What are the duties of a guardian ad Litem?

When a petition is filed to establish a guardianship, the court appoints a guardian ad Litem (GAL). The GAL represents the client’s best interests (not the client him or herself) in the guardianship proceeding. The GAL also acts as a neutral investigator for the court. The GAL will arrange for a physician or psychologist to examine the client and, based in part on that examination, submit a report to the court on whether the client is legally incapacitated. The GAL also conducts an investigation to determine if the proposed guardian is fit to serve, The GAL writes up a report on his/her findings and recommends to the court what it should do. The final decision is always with the court itself. GAL’s also may have the power to make emergency medical decisions during the time they are appointed by the court. GAL’s may also petition the court for interim orders that may be necessary until the guardianship is established. Once the investigation is complete, the GAL is usually dismissed and no longer has decision making power for the person.