North Carolina

Guardianship Laws

Adult Guardianship Statute: 
Right to Counsel in Statute: Initial Guardianship Proceedings: 
Right to Counsel in Statute: Post-Appointment Guardianship Proceedings: 
Yes, Conditional
Right to Counsel Statututory Citation: 

N.C. Gen. Stat. §§ 35A-1107(a), 35A-1293

Right to Counsel Definition in Statute: 

The respondent is entitled to be represented by counsel of his own choice or by an appointed guardian ad litem upon filing of the petition. An attorney shall be appointed as guardian ad litem to represent the respondent unless the respondent retain his own counsel, in which event the guardian ad litem may be discharged. See N.C. Gen. Stat. §§ 35A-1107(a). Upon the removal, death, or resignation of a guardian, the clerk shall appoint a successor guardian following the same criteria that would apply to the initial appointment of a guardian. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 35A-1293.

Advocacy Role of Counsel Defined in Statute: 
Advocacy Role of Counsel Definition in Statute: 

Court-appointed attorney serves as guardian ad litem.

Professional Rules &/or Ethics Opinions: 

NCRPC-Rule 1.14: "(a) When a client's capacity to make adequately considered decisions in connection with a representation is limited, whether because of minority, mental impairment, or for some other reason, the lawyer shall, as far as reasonably possible, maintain a normal client-lawyer relationship with the client. (b) When the lawyer reasonably believes that the client has limited capacity, is at risk of substantial physical, financial or other harm unless action is taken and the client cannot adequately act in the client's own interest, the lawyer may take reasonably necessary protective action, including consulting with individuals or entities that have the ability to take action to protect the client and, in appropriate cases, seeking the appointment of a guardian ad litem, conservator or guardian."

Other Important Info: 

Respondent has a right to trial by jury in capacity determination proceeding. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 35A-1110.

Discuss Guardianship or Supported Decision-Making?: