We Solve Guardianship Problems

Steele Schneider represents families in guardianship proceedings throughout Western Pennsylvania. Our attorneys will assist you and your family to understand Pennsylvania’s Guardianship Act and explore alternatives to guardianship proceedings like power of attorneys. 

Guardianship Consultation Request

Serious Decisions Demand Serious Attention

Guardianship proceedings are among the most significant decisions that can be made regarding a person. Guardianship proceedings aim to determine the ability of allegedly incapacitated person to continue to enjoy the basic right to make their own decisions. If the individual is determined to require guardianship, they will no longer have control of their life, liberty, or property. While this sounds severe, a guardianship order may be the only means of protecting the person from harm.

Because guardianship petitions can result in significant deprivations of personal liberty, the guardianship process involves significant procedural protections and hurdles before a person can be adjudicated as incapacitated and a guardian appointed. Steele Schneider will assist you in navigating the guardianship process. 

Types of Guardianship

Pennsylvania recognizes the following types of guardians:

    • Guardian of the Person, to make personal, residential, and medical decisions for an alleged incapacitated person; or
    • Guardian of the Estate, to make and implement financial decisions and manage income and property (many other states use the term “conservator” for a guardian appointed only for financial matters); or
    • BOTH, Guardian of the Person and Guardian of the Estate; or
    • Plenary Guardianship (full) or Limited Guardianship. In the case of limited guardianships, the court must specify the areas over which the guardian has authority and the areas over which the incapacitated person retains authority; or
    • Emergency Guardianships of the Person or Estate

Alternatives to Guardianship and Limited Guardianship

A full or plenary guardianship must be avoided when possible. Pennsylvania aims for guardianships to be as limited as reasonably possible to address the needs of the incapacitated person. Courts must allow a person to retain decision-making responsibilities in any areas where they are able to make and communication decisions. 

Power of Attorney

A Power of Attorney document is one of the most important estate planning documents that an individual can have in place. Power of Attorney documents allow a person to authorize another individual to act on his/her behalf.

Types of powers of attorney

  • Financial Power of Attorney

A Financial Power of Attorney document allows you to authorize a person to make financial decisions on your behalf, including paying your bills, managing your property, communicating with financial institutions, and accessing financial records or information. 

  • Healthcare Power of Attorney

A Healthcare Power of Attorney document allows you to authorize a person to make medical decisions on your behalf, including consenting to medical treatment, communicating with your healthcare provider, and accessing medical records or information. 


Powers of attorney allow you to:

    • Choose WHO will make decisions for your finances or health if you are unable to.
    • Choose WHEN your agent will be able to make those decisions for you. 
    • Choose HOW you want those financial or healthcare decisions to be made.

Steele Schneider provides two fee arrangements for guardianship clients. 

    • Uncontested Guardianship– We offer a $3,500.00 flat fee for an uncontested Guardianship proceeding in Pennsylvania. This amount does not cover court costs such as filing fees or transcript costs for any depositions. Your attorney will review those costs with you before finalizing an individualized fee agreement. 
    • Contested Guardianship– The firm offers a competitive hourly fee agreement for contested Guardianship proceedings. 
    • Power of Attorney– The firm provides Power of Attorney for a flat fee of $350.00.