Getting legal help

If you do chose to pursue guardianship, getting it can be a complicated process.

We suggest that you consider getting a lawyer to help you choose the right option for your family member and to support you through the process, especially if your family member can make some decisions on their own.

If it is clear your family member is unable to make any decisions on their own, you may not need a lawyer.

If you meet low-income requirements, you may be able to get free legal services.

 

To learn more , click the button below:

To see if you can get free legal services:

  • Find out if you meet the income requirement. This will vary from place to place, but it's usually around 200% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) or below. To calculate your family's FPL level, use this online calculator. (Click to open it in a new tab on your screen.)

  • One morning per week, lawyers and law students are available at certain Massachusetts courthouses to give free legal aid for guardianship. Click here to learn when and where: Times and courthouse locations for free legal help.

  • Check with Massachusetts Legal Services for other free legal aid optionsLegal Resource Finder.

  • If your income is too high to qualify for free services, but you can’t afford to hire a lawyer, call here for help: Massachusetts Bar Association's Lawyer Referral Service: (617) 654-0400 or (866) 627-7577.

If you don't qualify for free legal help, there are two ways to use a lawyer:

1. Limited Assistance Representation: A lawyer helps you with part of your case, while you take on the other parts. This can be a good option if you have time and feel comfortable leading parts of the case. 2. Full Service Representation: A lawyer helps you with the whole case. This may be right for you if your case is complex and your free time is limited.

To learn more about these options, click the button below:

What you can do to get LAR for part of your guardianship case:

 

  1. Find a LAR lawyer in your county. There are lists at the Registrar's office of your county courthouse, and online here: LAR Lawyers by County.

  2. Discuss the entire situation with the lawyer. Together, decide which parts of the case the lawyer will be responsible for, and which parts you will do.

  3. Costs will vary, based on how much help you need. Expect to pay legal fees in the range of $200 - $450 per hour.

To find a full-service lawyer for your whole case:

1. Look at the listings from these special-needs organizations to find a lawyer who knows about disability laws.

2. You can also find a lawyer here: Massachusetts Legal Referral. Look for lawyers who specialize in:

  • Special Needs

  • Family Law

  • Probate Law

  • Guardianship/Conservatorship

Depending on the complexity of your case, you can expect to pay legal fees from about $1,500 to $5,000.

Also see our Resource Directory to find legal support.

Sources: Commonwealth of MA, MA Bar Association, MA Guardianship Association

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