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Probate and Wills Wards of Court

Wards of Court

 Petition to the Court, Appointment of a Committee

The first half of life consists of the capacity to enjoy without the the chance; the last half consists of the chance without the capacity.

Mark Twain

Probate and Wills: Wards of Court

When a person becomes incapable of managing his or her assets or affairs, an application can be made to the High Court to make that person a Ward of Court.  If the High Court finds that the person is incapable of managing his or her own property then the person will become a Ward of Court. A Committee will be appointed to look after the Ward’s  assets, subject to the close supervision of the Court.

To be made a Ward of Court, the Court must be satisfied that the person is of unsound mind and incapable of managing his or her own affairs.


An application is made to the High Court by way of Petition by an applicant, called a Petitioner. The High Court will hold an enquiry as to whether the proposed applicant is of unsound mind and incapable of managing his or her person or property.  Applications are normally made by family members.

The applicant will swear an affidavit for the Court setting out why the person should be taken into Wardship. The application will be accompanied by affidavits or sworn statements from two doctors. The Registrar of the Wards of Court can also initiate proceedings.

The Petition to the Court must contain the following information:

  • Medical condition
  • Next of kin
  • Income
  • Assets

The President of the High Court decides whether or not to conduct an enquiry. If an enquiry is ordered, the proposed ward is examined by a doctor sent out by the High Court.

If the application is granted, the Court may appoint a Committee to deal with the Ward’s personal affairs. The Committee looks after the Ward under the close supervision of the Court. The Court will order that all monies owned by the Ward be deposited with the Wards of Court Office. Application must by made by the Committee to obtain money to look after the Ward. If the Ward has property and it is to be sold, then approval by way of Court Order must be sought from the High Court.

The legal costs of applying for a Wardship are subject to the control of the Wards of Court Office.

More information on Wards of Court can be found in the Court Services booklet on the Wards of Court or the Wards of Court Office at the Courts website.

The Assisted Decision Making Capacity Act 2015 will  through process of review eliminate the process of Wards of Court system.

John Griffin

John Griffin

Principal Solicitor

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