How to get Guardianship in North Carolina (Wake County)

27 Sep

When it came time for me to apply for guardianship for my disabled son, I felt like I was going down a road no one had gone down before!  It was hard to find information on what was involved and what steps were needed to obtain guardianship.  We just completed the process today and in an effort to make things easier for others, I would like to write out how to get  Guardianship for your loved one!  This is a case for Wake County, North Carolina.  I am assuming it is true for all of North Carolina but can’t be sure, however, I would assume it would be very similar within the state if not the same.


Step 1:  Fill out the paperwork at the North Carolina Wake County Clerk of Courts Website for Guardianship.  (Click on the word paperwork to see the forms you need to fill out.)

Step 2:  Take filled out paperwork to Wake County Court house in downtown Raleigh and go to the 12th floor, go through the Clerk of Courts doors and look for the sign for Special Proceedings.

Step 3:  Give the paperwork to the people at the desk at Special Proceedings.  They will have an additional form for you to fill out.  Plan on being there for at least 30 minutes.

Step 4:  After you fill out the rest of the paperwork, they will make copies and schedule a court date (as soon as 2 weeks out possibly).  They will also give you the name of an attorney for the disabled person.

Step 5:  You will be given copies of the forms to deliver to all next of kin to make them aware of the hearing and give you a form that says that you have to sign (notarized or bring back to court) to prove you gave out all the copies to next of kin.  This includes siblings older than 18 years of age.

Step 6:  The sheriff will be given another copy of the notice that he has to serve in person to the disabled person prior to the hearing.

Step 7:  Once home, you wait for the sheriff to serve notice (if he hasn’t come before the court date, that could be a problem so call and check with them if you are a day or two out and the disabled person hasn’t been served yet).

Step 8:  You also need to wait until you get a call from the court appointed lawyer.  He will call and schedule an appointment with the proposed guardian and disabled person.

Step 9:  At the meeting with the lawyer, he will want to explain to the disabled person what their rights are, discuss the guardianship, types of guardianship, limitations of the disabled person, and make sure the guardian is fit to serve as guardian.  If all is well, the meeting will be short and he will prepare a report for the court.  There is no cost for any of this.

Step 10:  You arrive with your notice that says you served everyone, any proof showing disability (if needed, we didn’t need it but we did bring my son with us) and will meet with the lawyer and the clerk of court in a small room at the 12th floor on the day of your hearing.

Step 11:  The clerk of court will discuss with you the types of guardianship, ask about the limitations of the person needing guardianship, and make recommendations.  She will then share those with you, you all agree and you are sent to another room for the oath and letters.

Step 12:  Some other folks enter information into a computer, have you agree to an oath of office (sounds like you are taking oath for president of the United States), and they give you 5 stamped letters for you to provided anyone who needs proof that you are guardian.  You sign a couple forms and you are done.


You can apply for guardianship as soon as your disabled child is 17 1/2.  You don’t need to wait until they are 18.  This way there is no gap.  I hope this helps!


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