People with mental health conditions are often subject to guardianship and/or conservatorship petitions. The petition asks a court to appoint a person or persons (or sometimes a corporation) to take responsibility to protect an individual who because of incapacity cannot protect himself or herself. Massachusetts guardianships sometime include an order authorizing certain mental health treatment, called a Rogers Order. Because guardianship and conservatorship can substantially restrict an individual’s rights, appointments should only be made when there are no alternatives and only after meaningful due process.


MAMH Perspective

MAMH believes that guardianship should be a last resort, used only if other alternatives (including supported decision-making) are unavailable or ineffective. MAMH strongly supports limited guardianship – that is that a guardian’s authority should be as limited as possible and last only as long as is necessary. MAMH also believes that all guardianship processes should be fair and that the legal rights of the person with mental illness should be protected.


Guardianship petitions were filed in Massachusetts Probate & Family Courts in 2017.