As of January 1, 2023, Wisconsin law requires all new individual guardians to complete a state-approved training course. Prior to this year, Wisconsin only required corporate guardians to have formal training. Now every individual who is nominated to be the guardian of a person or of the estate (the assets and finances of the person) must complete training on a variety of topics, and submit a sworn, notarized affidavit attesting that the training has been completed before they can be appointed guardian.

Wis. Stat. § 54.26 sets forth the required areas of training, including the following:

  • The duties and required responsibilities of a guardian under the law and limits of a guardian’s decision-making authority.
  • Alternatives to guardianship, including supported decision-making agreements and
    powers of attorney.
  • Rights retained by a ward.
  • Best practices for a guardian to solicit and understand the wishes and preferences of a ward, involving a ward in decision making, and taking a ward’s wishes and preferences into account in decisions made by the guardian.
  • Restoration of a ward’s rights and the process for removal of guardianship.
  • Future planning and identification of a potential standby or successor guardian.
  • Resources and technical support for guardians.

In most cases, it is a family member who is petitioning for guardianship of a loved one, and they often have misconceptions about what guardianship is or is not. Many are not aware of the responsibilities that they will have as guardian, or that there are a number of ongoing administrative requirements they will be required to complete. The court system is not equipped to provide guidance and advice to guardians on an ongoing basis, which can leave guardians feeling overwhelmed and lacking support. Training for guardians can be vital in helping guardians know what to expect and how to address concerns as they navigate their ongoing role as guardian.

The training must be completed no later than four days (96 hours) before the final guardianship hearing, and must be completed by the nominated guardian of person or estate, as well as any standby or successor guardians of person or estate. The training is free and available as a self-paced, online course.

If you have questions on guardianships or the required training please reach out to one of our experienced attorneys.