Office of the Public Guardian


To provide quality, comprehensive, protective guardianship services to adult citizens of Delaware who are severely mentally or physically disabled, are unable to manage their personal and financial affairs, are at risk for neglect, abuse and victimization and have no one else able or willing to serve as a guardian.

Goals of the Office of the Public Guardian

Advocate for the agency, its mission and its service to individuals through education and networking with the public and other professional communities. Maintain the certification as registered guardians of key staff in whom decision-making is vested.

Duties of the Public Guardian

— of the Person (included but not limited to)

  • Address all issues of the individual that require immediate action and ensure that provision is made for the support, care, comfort, health, and maintenance of the ward. Key activities include giving/withholding care for medical treatment including emergency care, elective procedures, and end of life care and treatment decisions.
  • Assess the ward's situation, needs, preferences, and support system and attempt to gather any missing or necessary information.
  • Ensure that the individual is living in the most appropriate and least restrictive setting possible.
  • Secure medical, psychological, therapeutic, and social services that are appropriate and necessary to support the ward's well-being and quality of life.
  • Maintain communication with the ward and his/her caregivers.
  • Develop and monitor a written guardianship plan.
  • File with the court all reports required by statute, regulations or court rule.

— of the Person's Property

  • Address all issues of the estate that require immediate action.
  • Prepare real estate and personal belongings for sale and obtain services of an appraiser, realtor, auctioneer, and others as needed.
  • Provide competent management, for the benefit of the ward, of all property and supervise all income and disbursements of the estate.
  • Conduct all financial matters for the ward.
  • Keep estate assets safe by maintaining accurate records of all transactions and submitting required annual accountings to the Court, with a final accounting to the Court upon the death of a ward.
  • Facilitate the appropriate closing of the estate and assist in settling estates when necessary.
  • Seek specific judicial authority to dispose of property when an extraordinary circumstance is being addressed.
  • Obtain all public benefits for which the ward is eligible.

What is a Guardian?
Photo of an Older Woman

A guardian is a person or institution appointed by the Court of Chancery to manage the affairs of another, called the ward.

Types of Guardianship

There are two types of guardianship: of the person, and of the property. A guardian of the person is given the authority to make personal decisions for the ward, like where he will live, and under what conditions, etc. A guardian of the property manages the finances of the ward.

The Court may appoint either type of guardian or both person and property, or two separate guardians may be appointed. An institution, such as a bank, may be appointed guardian of the property.