Wyoming

Guardianship Laws

Adult Guardianship Statute: 

Wyo. State. Ann 3-1-101 to 3-6-119

Right to Counsel in Statute: Initial Guardianship Proceedings: 
Yes
Right to Counsel in Statute: Post-Appointment Guardianship Proceedings: 
Not stated
Right to Counsel Statututory Citation: 

Wyo. State. Ann §§ 3-1-101 to 3-6-119

Right to Counsel Definition in Statute: 

The proposed ward of any involuntary petition for guardianship or conservatorship shall have the right to…have counsel appointed upon order of the court. Wyo. State. Ann. § 3-1-205(a)(iv). No express statutory right to counsel in post-appointment proceedings for the ward. See Id. at § 3-3-1105 (discusses post-appointment proceedings, but makes no express mention of right to counsel).

Advocacy Role of Counsel Defined in Statute: 
Not stated
Advocacy Role of Counsel Definition in Statute: 

Advocacy of role is not expressly stated in the statute. But see Wyo. Stat. § 3-1-108(c)(The guardian ad litem shall not have the powers of a guardian or conservator nor shall the guardian ad litem act as legal counsel for the proposed ward).

Professional Rules &/or Ethics Opinions: 

Wyoming Rule of Professional Conduct 1.14 is identical to the model rule except for two additions: (1) “A lawyer appointed to act as a guardian ad litem represents the best interests of that individual, and shall act in the individual's best interests even if doing so is contrary to the individual's wishes. To the extent possible, however, the lawyer shall comply with paragraph (a) of this rule.” Wyoming Rules of Prof. Conduct Rule 1.14(d) and (2) “A lawyer who has been appointed to act as a guardian ad litem has a fundamentally different responsibility than a lawyer who represents an individual. The lawyer acting as guardian ad litem shall act as reasonably necessary in the best interests of the individual...In such circumstances the lawyer is expected to be ultimately responsible for making decisions regarding the welfare of the individual, after appropriate consultation with the individual, and take steps to implement those decisions, even if the individual disagrees with the attorney for the best interests.” Wyoming Rules of Prof. Conduct Rule 1.14, Comment 5.

Other Important Info: 

Clark v. Alexander explores role of counsel versus role of guardian ad litem with regards to representing minors: Counsel must advocate fot the child's preferences, not the counsel's determination of the child's best wishes; whereas, the GAL is bound by child's best interests, rather than by the child's preference. 953 P.2d 145 (Wyoming 1998). Proposed wards may demand a jury trial for the initial appointment proceedings. Wyo. Stat. § 3-2-103. Post-appointment, the guardian must file a report with the court every six months on “the physical condition, including level of disability or functional incapacity, principal residence, treatment, care and activities of the ward, as well as providing a description of those actions the guardian has taken on behalf of the ward.” Wyo Stat. 3-2-109(a). Any person with a complaint against the guardian “shall report the allegations and relevant supporting facts in a verified writing” to the court and the guardian shall have 20 days to respond. Wyo. Stat. § 3-1-111. The court may set a hearing or dismiss the complaint if the complaint and response show there is no basis for the allegations that the guardian is not discharging his duties. Id.

Discuss Guardianship or Supported Decision-Making?: 
Yes