The Massachusetts Guardian Ad Litem Requirements Statute

By Holly Cameron

A guardian ad litem provides information and assistance to courts in disputes relating to family or probate matters. Three main categories of guardian ad litem exist in Massachusetts: an investigator, an evaluator and a “next friend.” The court appoints an investigator to look into facts relating to a family or probate dispute. A guardian ad litem-evaluator often carries out psychological testing or clinical assessment. If a guardian ad litem acts as a “next friend,” he typically represents the interests of a minor child or incapacitated person.


A guardian ad litem is typically an attorney, medical professional or social worker with experience in the subject matter of the dispute. He must be independent of all parties to the dispute and play no other role in the court action. The term “ad litem” literally means for the purposes of the proceeding and, therefore, the guardian ad litem ceases any involvement with the parties to the dispute once the case is closed.

Guardian Ad Litem -- Investigator

In family disputes, the court appoints a guardian ad litem-investigator to scrutinize the relevant factors in a child’s life and report on factual matters. The investigator usually visits the family home and the child’s school where he talks to the child’s teachers and other involved adults. He then files a report with the court and may make recommendations regarding issues such as custody or visitation, but the final decision remains with the court.

Protect your loved ones. Start My Estate Plan

Guardian Ad Litem -- Evaluator

A guardian ad litem-evaulator gathers factual information and uses his clinical knowledge to interpret that information in a family dispute. The guardian should be independent from either party in the case and should not provide legal advice. Once he has evaluated the information, the guardian ad litem files his report with the court.

Guardian Ad Litem -- Next Friend

A court may appoint a guardian ad litem to act on behalf of a person who is a minor, mentally incapacitated or disabled in any court action involving trusts or estates. The guardian ad litem acts in the interests of the minor, mentally incapacitated or disabled person in all matters relating to the court action. The court supplies the guardian ad litem with all notices of the proceedings and pays all reasonable expenses of the guardian ad litem.

Protect your loved ones. Start My Estate Plan
How to File a Complaint Against a Bankruptcy Trustee



Related articles

Who Enforces the Execution of a Will?

In drafting your will, you may appoint a person to serve as your executor, also known as a personal representative. This person will have the responsibility of carrying out your wishes pursuant to the will. Because the executor has a number of responsibilities and can be held personally responsible if they are not properly carried out, carefully consider appointing someone who is trustworthy and capable of carrying out the somewhat complicated probate process.

How to Appoint a Guardian for an Unborn Child in Texas

A guardianship is a legal relationship between a ward and an individual tasked with caring for the ward's well-being. In Texas, an "individual" is defined as a human being who is alive, including an unborn child at every stage of gestation from fertilization until birth. In the event a pregnant woman is unable to care for her child while in gestation, another individual can petition the Texas probate court for guardianship over the child. The court will require the appointment of an attorney guardian ad litem to advocate for the unborn child's best interests throughout the duration of the proceedings.

Living Trust Vs Last Will in Texas

Probating a will can be a time-consuming and costly process. In addition, all probate costs are paid from the assets of the probated estate. Accordingly, probate can effectively drain some of the assets of the estate, leaving less available for the beneficiaries. Therefore, a common alternative to a last will and testament is a living trust. In Texas, state laws govern the requirements for both a will and a living trust.

LegalZoom. Legal help is here. Start Here. Wills. Trusts. Attorney help.

Related articles

Time to Probate a Will in Texas

A Texas decedent's estate must be probated under most circumstances. To go through probate, the will's personal ...

Duties of an Independent Trustee for Last Wills

An independent trustee is an individual appointed by the court to oversee the fiscal affairs of a decedent’s estate. ...

Arkansas Will and Testament Filing

In Arkansas, as in most states, the probate process begins with filing the deceased’s will. It is a necessary first ...

Can a Permanent Legal Guardianship in Texas Expire?

A person with a mental or physical disability may need the assistance of a guardian to help him make decisions about ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED