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Guardianships

Estate Planning Areas

In Connecticut, Guardianships apply to persons with intellectual disability.  A person with intellectual disability may be partially or totally unable to meet essential requirements for their physical health or safety and/or unable to make informed decisions about matters relating to their care.  The Probate Court is authorized to appoint a guardian to supervise all aspects or certain aspects of the care of an adult with intellectual disability.  There is a broad range of intellectual disability, from mild to profound, and a court-appointed guardian is not necessary for all adults with intellectual disability.

“Intellectual disability” is defined by statute in Connecticut as a significant limitation in intellectual functioning and deficits in adaptive behavior that originated during the developmental period before eighteen years of age.  A “significant limitation in intellectual functioning” is defined as an intelligence quotient (“IQ”) more than two standard deviations below the mean, as measured by standard tests of general intellectual functioning.  This means that the person’s IQ must be 69 or less.

The court can appoint a guardian only if it finds that the person has intellectual disability in accordance with the statutory definition.  Not everyone with intellectual disability falls within the statutory definition.  There are other avenues available to assist persons with intellectual disability that have higher than a 69 IQ level, such as conservatorship.

There are two types of guardianships: a plenary guardian and a limited guardian.

Plenary Guardian:  A plenary guardian of an adult with intellectual disability is a person, legally authorized state official, or private, non-profit corporation, appointed by the Probate Court to supervise all aspects of the care of an adult person who, by reason of the severity of his or her intellectual disability, is totally unable to meet essential requirements for his or her physical health or safety and totally unable to make informed decisions about matters related to his or her care.  More specifically, the Probate Court will grant a Plenary Guardian with the power to assure and/or consent for

  • Residence outside the natural family home
  • Specifically designated educational, vocational, or behavioral programs
  • The release of clinical records and photographs
  • Routine, elective and emergency medical and dental care
  • Any other specific limited services to develop or regain to the maximum extent possible the Respondent’s capacity to meet essential requirements

Limited Guardian:  A limited guardian of an adult with intellectual disability is the same in all respects as a plenary guardian except that a limited guardian supervises only certain specified aspects of a person’s care because the court finds that he or she is able to do some, but not all, of the tasks necessary to meet the requirements for his or her physical health or safety, or make some, but not all, informed decisions about matters related to his or her care.  A Limited Guardian will only be given those powers that are deemed necessary by the Probate Court.

Any adult person (“Petitioner”) may file an application for guardianship of person (an “Application”).  The Petitioner must allege that the person with intellectual disability (the “Respondent”) is either totally or partially unable to meet essential requirements for his or her physical health and safety and/or is unable to make informed decisions about matters relating to his or her care because of the severity of his or her intellectual disability.  A hearing will be scheduled on the Application and the Respondent must be given notice of the Application and hearing date.  In order for a Guardian to be appointed, the Court must find by clear and convincing evidence that the Respondent has intellectual disability and is totally or partially unable to make informed decisions about matters relating to his or her care.

Source: Connecticut Probate Court User Guide: Person’s With Intellectual Disability


Our Firm

The Law Office of Cheryl Gabes Rice, LLC is frequently appointed by the Connecticut Probate Courts to serve as counsel on behalf of Respondents in connection with Guardianship applications.  The Firm is also retained privately on behalf of Respondents to represent their interests in Guardianship matters.


The materials appearing in this website have been prepared by the Law Office of Cheryl Gabes Rice, LLC for informational purposes only. The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, nor should it be construed as, legal advice. Transmission of this information is not intended to create, and receipt does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation.

The Law Office of Cheryl Gabes Rice, LLC is located in West Hartford, Connecticut and serves all of Hartford County including, but not limited to, Avon, Berlin, Canton, Cromwell, Farmington, Glastonbury, Newington, Plainville, Rocky Hill, Simsbury, Southington, Wethersfield, and surrounding towns.



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