2018 Wisconsin Statutes & Annotations
Chapter 54. Guardianships and conservatorships.
54.42 Rights of proposed ward or ward.

Universal Citation: WI Stat § 54.42 (2018)

54.42 Rights of proposed ward or ward.

(1) Right to counsel.

(a) The proposed ward or ward has the right to counsel, if any of the following occurs:

1. The proposed ward or ward requests counsel.

2. The guardian ad litem or another person states to the court that the proposed ward or ward is opposed to the guardianship petition.

3. The court determines that the interests of justice require counsel for the proposed ward or ward.

(b) Any attorney obtained under par. (a) or appointed under par. (c) shall be an advocate for the expressed wishes of the proposed ward or ward.

(c) If par. (a) 1., 2., or 3. applies but the proposed ward or ward is unable to obtain legal counsel, the court shall appoint legal counsel. If the proposed ward or ward is represented by counsel appointed under s. 977.08 in a proceeding under a petition for protective placement brought under s. 55.075, the court shall order the counsel appointed under s. 977.08 to represent the proposed ward or ward.

(2) Right to jury trial. The proposed ward or ward has the right to a trial by a jury if demanded by the proposed ward or ward, his or her attorney, or the guardian ad litem, except that the right is waived unless demanded at least 48 hours before the time set for the hearing. The number of jurors for such a trial is determined under s. 756.06 (2) (b). The proposed ward or ward, his or her attorney, or the guardian ad litem each has the right to present and cross-examine witnesses, including any physician or licensed psychologist who reports to the court concerning the proposed ward.

(3) Right to independent examination. If requested by the proposed ward, ward, or anyone on the proposed ward's or ward's behalf, the proposed ward or ward has the right at his or her own expense, or if indigent at the expense of the county where the petition is heard on the merits, to secure an independent medical or psychological examination relevant to the issue involved in any hearing under this chapter, and to present a report of this independent evaluation or the evaluator's personal testimony as evidence at the hearing.

(4) Right to payment of expenses in contesting proceedings. If a guardian is appointed, the court shall, if the court determines it reasonable, allow payment from the ward's income or assets of expenses incurred by the ward in contesting the appointment. These expenses are payable before other attorney or guardian ad litem fees.

(5) Right to be present at hearing. The proposed ward or ward has the right to be present at any hearing regarding the guardianship.

(6) Right to hearing in accessible location. The proposed ward or ward has the right to have any hearing regarding the guardianship conducted in a location and manner that is accessible to the proposed ward or ward.

History: 2005 a. 264 s. 204; 2005 a. 387 ss. 100, 420, 460, 461, 463; 2007 a. 45.

The right to counsel guaranteed under sub. (1) (b) includes the ward's right to have counsel present during an interview with the guardian ad litem for the purpose of making a report to the court. Jennifer M. v. Mauer, 2010 WI App 8, 323 Wis. 2d 126, 779 N.W.2d 436, 08-1985.

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