Act 24

The Guardianship process in Pennsylvania was dramatically changed by Act 24 of 1992 to allow for varying degrees of incapacity and requires the court to adhere to the “least restrictive alternative” standard when adjudicating individuals and appointing legal guardians.

Act 24 increased the burden of proof and required additional evidence to prove the incapacity. Alleged incapacitated persons are now afforded the following by the court in determining the degree of their adjudication:

  • Complete Explanation
  • Extended Rights of Notice
  • Independent Evaluations
  • Personal Service
  • Specific Findings


  • All guardian petitions must be specific and must include all requisite information as outlined in Act 24.
  • Final guardian reports/guardian accounts must be filed pursuant to statute.
  • Guardians must file annual reports to properly account for all actions taken on behalf of the adjudicated person.
  • Guardian duties must be specifically explained in the final adjudication order.
  • Guardian petitions must be filed directly with the orphans’ court division for scheduling and presentation to the court.

In cases of true emergencies, attorneys may contact the court administrator for immediate access to a judge.

Guardianship Forms

Guardianship forms can be found on our Forms page.