• You must be at least 21 years of age, a resident of the State of Ohio; and a law-abiding citizen.
  • Submit a completed volunteer guardianship application to the Volunteer Coordinator.
  • Complete a background check. The background checks are arranged by the Volunteer Coordinator and there is no charge to you.
  • The Volunteer Coordinator will contact you to schedule a meeting to discuss the Guardianship Program.
  • Complete volunteer training. The initial volunteer training is approximately 2 hours. You will receive a Volunteer Training Manual with information for your assistance.
  • You will be matched with a potential Ward based on proximity, background and values as closely as possible.
  • The Volunteer Coordinator will arrange for you to meet with your potential Ward. You must then make a decision if you want to proceed with the guardianship.


  • If you decide to proceed with the guardianship, and if you match all the legal qualifications to be a Guardian, the Volunteer Coordinator will complete the Application for Appointment of Guardian and other required forms and submit to the Wayne County Probate Court.
  • The Probate Court will review your application, assign a case number, and then schedule a hearing. At least seven (7) days prior to the hearing, the Probate Court must personally give notice to the Ward, and send notice to his/her spouse and his/her next of kin that an application has been filed, and a hearing has been scheduled.
  • At least seven (7) days after the Ward has been notified of the hearing, the Probate Court will hold a hearing on the application.
  • What will happen at the hearing? At the hearing, the Probate Judge will hear evidence given by you or by anyone else who has filed an application to be appointed the Ward’s Guardian. The Probate Judge will then determine from the testimony and other evidence whether or not the Ward is incompetent and in need of a Guardian and who will be appointed the Guardian.
  • At the hearing, the Judge will explain the importance of the decision regarding a Guardian for the Ward. Sometimes there may be more than one applicant, and the Judge will need to decide which applicant is more suitable to be the Guardian.
  • The Judge will review the Statement of Expert Evaluation, Court Investigator’s Report, Guardianship Application, and testimony from the applicant, the Ward and other interested parties.
  • In evaluating the applicant, the Judge will look for a positive attitude toward the Ward, an appreciation of the responsibilities of Guardianship and a willingness to serve.
  • At the end of the hearing, the Judge will decide whether or not the Ward is legally competent and in need of a Guardian, and who will be appointed.
  • What happens after the hearing? After determining that a Guardianship is needed, official papers will be issued that legally appoint you as the Guardian. You will receive a copy of the Judgment Entry, which specifically appoints you as Guardian, and two original copies of the Letters of Guardianship, which outlines your duties as Guardian. Your Guardianship will be over the Ward’s Person Only.


You will be required to file a Guardian’s Report and Statement of Expert Evaluation every year. The Volunteer Coordinator will assist you in this matter. These reports will let the Court know how the Ward is doing.

  • The Guardian’s Report informs the Probate Court of your Ward’s physical and mental well being. The filing of this report also tells the Court if you are successfully meeting your responsibilities as the Ward’s Guardian.
  • The Statement of Expert Evaluation is a report that informs the Probate Court of the current status of your Ward’s physical and mental well being as reported by a licensed physician or other qualified expert.



Are you interested in becoming a volunteer? Complete the application and submit your information online to take the next steps in guardianship.


What is guardianship all about?

Guardianship is a legally defined process whereby a person (the ward) has been declared by the Probate Court to be incompetent and a guardian is appointed by the Probate Court for the care and management of the ward. Guardianship may be of the person, the estate, or both. Wayne County Volunteer Guardianship Association Volunteers will only be appointed as Guardian of the person. In most instances, the guardianship of the person will be requested from the Probate Court or in some cases a care facility. There are certain requirements of a guardian that are part of the Ohio Revised Code. These will be dealt with in detail in the training session.

How much of my time will be involved if I agree to volunteer?

As a volunteer guardian, one or two hours per month would generally be needed. This time could be a combination of telephone and in-person contacts, including attending the quarterly care conferences, when possible. Volunteer guardians are required to attend an initial training program. The Volunteer Coordinator will contact you with the location and time of the training program.

What can you tell me about the people who are in need of a volunteer?

The people who are referred to the Wayne County Volunteer Guardianship Association (WCVGA) must be adults, are most often indigent, lacking available or appropriate family and/or support systems, and are unable to make decisions for themselves as defined by law. The majority reside in long term care facilities and group homes.

What kinds of things would I be doing as a volunteer?

As a volunteer guardian your primary tasks would be health-related decision-making and advocating for the ward. You would always have the Volunteer Coordinator available for consultation as you make decisions.

What costs am I likely to incur if I volunteer?

You are not personally liable for any costs incurred by the ward that exceed the ward’s assets. You incur the travel and telephone costs of having contact with the ward.

If I go through the training does that mean that I am committing myself to being a volunteer?

There is a process to becoming a volunteer and you will not be asked to make a commitment until the training is completed. You will be asked to complete an application and provide three references. The application is submitted to the WCVGA. Each applicant will undergo a background check. After the training is completed you will be asked if you are ready to commit to being a Volunteer Guardian. The WCVGA will try to geographically match Volunteer Guardians and Wards. Once a match is made you will be given information about the person, their needs, and health status. If at that time you are ready to proceed as a Volunteer Guardian, the WCVGA will prepare the necessary paperwork for court.

What do I do and who do I call if and when I run into a problem after the relationship with the Ward begins?

In addition to the information provided during the initial training, you will receive a notebook, “Guardian of the Person Handbook.” These resources may help you with some problems. Should a problem, concern or question arise at any time during the guardianship, contact the Volunteer Coordinator of the Wayne County Volunteer Guardianship Association who will provide information or arrange for you to speak to someone else, if necessary.

What kinds of paperwork will I have to do?

As a guardian of the person, the Court will require a Guardian’s Report to be completed every two years. This will be fully explained to you in the training session. Volunteer guardians are required to keep records of the date, type, time and content of contacts with the ward. Again, the information on how to do this will be explained during the training and materials will be furnished by the WCVGA.

Why should I consider volunteering for WCVGA?

Volunteering in this program will give you the opportunity to meet a need in your own community for a special group of people. You will be able to reach out with a caring heart and hand to a person who likely is without family or close friends. You will gain experience in nurturing, advocating and caring for another person who otherwise would have no one in his or her life. Perhaps most importantly, you will receive satisfaction in making someone’s life better. The individual may be facing the reality of the end of life in an unfamiliar setting. With all of today’s technology, there is nothing that can begin to replace the smile or touch of another human being. Only you can provide this.

What is the mission statement of the Wayne County Volunteer Guardianship Association?

The WCVGA mission statement is as follows:

“The mission of the Wayne County Volunteer Guardianship Association is to locate and assist volunteer guardians to provide for the needs of the mentally incompetent in Wayne County, Ohio.”