Title 33
Probate Practice and Procedure

Chapter 15
Limited Guardianship and Guardianship of Adults

R.I. Gen. Laws § 33-15-17.1

§ 33-15-17.1. Notice.

(a) Except for the appointment of a temporary guardian, no petition for limited guardian or guardian shall be heard and no person shall be appointed limited guardian or guardian of an individual unless notice of the petition for appointment of a limited guardian or guardian and a copy of the petition itself shall be served upon the respondent in person at least fourteen (14) days prior to any hearing on the petition. If the hearing date is continued by the probate court for any reason after service on the respondent and no objection to the petition is filed by or on behalf of the respondent, no further service on the respondent shall be required. The probate court, in its discretion, may require further notice to the respondent in such manner as prescribed by the court.

In the case of a petition for the appointment of a temporary guardian, such fourteen (14) day notice period shall be reduced to five (5) days, unless a shorter period is ordered by the court.

(b) This notice shall be in plain language, large type and shall include the time and place of the hearing, the possible loss of liberty if the petition is granted, and shall inform the respondent of his or her rights including: the court appointment of a guardian ad litem, the right to a hearing and to be present at the hearing to confront witnesses, present evidence, contest the petition, object to the appointment of a particular individual as guardian, request that limits be placed on the guardian’s powers, and the right to counsel. Notice shall be served upon the respondent by a process server duly authorized and licensed under Rhode Island law, except for “Good Samaritan” guardianships under § 33-15-4.1 in which case notice may be served upon the respondent by the guardian ad litem appointed by the court (hereinafter referred to as “court officer”).

(c) The court officer that serves this notice shall be dressed in plain clothes. He or she shall have experience dealing with individuals who may lack decision making ability.

(d) The court officer shall present the written notice and shall also read the notice to the respondent.

(e) Except for a petition for the appointment of a temporary guardian, notice shall be given by the petitioner, or his or her attorney, at least ten (10) days before the date set for hearing on the petition by regular mail, postage prepaid, addressed to (1) the respondent’s spouse and heirs at law (under the rules of descent) as set forth in § 33-1-1 only at their last known addresses; and (2) the administrator of any care and treatment facility where the respondent resides or receives primary services; and (3) any individual or entity known or reasonably known to the petitioner to be regularly providing protective services to the respondent. In the case of a petition for the appointment of a temporary guardian, such ten (10) day notice period is reduced to five (5) days, unless a shorter period is ordered by the court, with the petitioner required to use reasonable efforts in identifying and noticing those individuals described in the immediately preceding sentence within the limitations of investigation of identity of addresses of such individuals inherent in a temporary guardianship proceeding. The petitioner or his or her attorney, shall at or prior to the hearing file or leave to be filed an affidavit that notice was given setting forth the names and post office addresses of the persons to whom the notice was sent and the date of mailing, together with a copy of the notice.

(f) Should the petitioner have no knowledge of the existence or whereabouts of any of the persons required to be notified pursuant to subparagraph (e) above, an affidavit to that effect filed with the court shall satisfy this notice requirement.

(g) Notwithstanding any notice requirement of the petitioner, and except for a petition for appointment of a temporary guardian the court shall give notice of the petition by advertisement.

History of Section.
P.L. 1982, ch. 283, § 1; P.L. 1983, ch. 206, § 1; P.L. 1987, ch. 89, § 1; P.L. 1992, ch. 493, § 3; P.L. 1994, ch. 359, § 1; P.L. 1996, ch. 110, § 9; P.L. 2008, ch. 299, § 3; P.L. 2008, ch. 419, § 3.