Corporate Guardianships: Application Process

This page describes the paperwork needed to become a corporate guardianship business. Paperwork in Sections I and II must be completed prior to paperwork in Section III.

Wis. Admin. Code § DHS 85.01 establishes the criteria by which the department determines whether a private nonprofit corporation organized under Wis. Stat. chs. 181, 187, or 188, or an unincorporated association, is suitable to perform the duties of a guardian of the person, or of the estate, or both, of a proposed ward.

Section I

Department of Financial Institutions (DFI): Form DFI-102 (Articles of Incorporation – Nonstock Corporation)

  • The Division of Quality Assurance (DQA) Corporate Guardianship program requires a copy of the submitted DFI-102 form when a corporate guardianship application is processed. The name of a corporate guardianship business must end with the abbreviation "Inc." (refer to Article 1 of DFI-102 instructions). DQA returns corporate guardian application materials if applying corporations do not have "Inc." at the end of names.
  • DFI provides form DFI-102 as an online form and as a PDF document (PDF) with instructions (PDF).

Section II

Caregiver Background Checks

The Caregiver Law, under s. 50.065, Wis Stats., requires two types of caregiver background checks:

  • Those completed by employers for their employees and contractors (see Chapters 1 and 2 of the Caregiver Program Manual).
  • Those completed by DQA for license holders/legal representatives and non-client residents of DQA-regulated entities.

The Caregiver Background Check Process page provides background check information and forms needed to fulfill requirements.

See Corporate Guardianship Background Check Process, P-01926 (PDF) for more information about the criminal background check requirement and process for Corporate Guardianship agencies and employees.

Section III

Corporate Guardianship Program Status Application

Completion of the Corporate Guardianship Status Application, F-60820 (PDF) is the last step in the corporate guardian application process.

The guidance below provides clarification of the type of information to include in your corporate guardianship grievance procedure and business plan.

Grievance Procedure

Wis. Admin Code § DHS 85.05(2) requires that an application for corporate guardian include a copy of the applicant's written grievance procedure for use by wards and interested parties.  The intent of this procedure is to support each client’s right to voice grievances and to assure that after receiving a complaint/grievance, the corporate guardianship agency actively seeks a resolution and keeps the client appropriately apprised of its progress toward resolution.

Wis. Admin Code § DHS 85.13(1)(h) requires that a ward or interested party be able to file a grievance without retaliation. The corporate guardianship agency shall have policies and procedures in place which provide that no retaliation will be threatened or imposed against any client who files a grievance, or any person, including an employee of the agency, who assists a client in filing a grievance.

The grievance policy should include at a minimum:

  • Information on how to file a grievance: A process for informing the ward and other interested parties of the agency’s grievance procedure verbally and in writing.
  • Timely intake of grievances: A process for timely intake of both emergency and non-emergency grievances.
  • Template for written grievances: A template that the ward/interested party can use to submit a written or formal grievance.
  • Investigation Procedure: The procedure that the agency will use to review and investigate grievances. This may include:
    • A process to resolve grievances informally if possible.
    • A process for the ward/interested party to submit a formal grievance if the informal resolution is not acceptable.
    • A process for internal review of the grievance by a manager, board member or other staff member.
    • A process to notify the ward/interested party of the result of the review.
    • A process that invites a third party to review the grievance and assist with resolution as needed. The third party can be an advocacy agency such as the ombudsman office, ADRC, county human services agency, Disability Rights Wisconsin agency, etc.
  • Timeline for grievance resolution: Timelines for each step in the grievance process.

Business Plan  

  • Executive summary: Describe the business and your professional background. What services are provided and to what disability groups? How will these services be delivered? Is there a need for these services in the area? If so, explain your solution. Do you have a unique partnership, management team or staff? What is your business working towards? What makes your business more unique than others in the area? Is there a mission statement?
  • Business description and vision: Where is the business located? What are the business goals and objectives? Is there a business philosophy for you and the staff? What are the strengths of the business? Do you anticipate any changes in the near future?
  • Market analysis: Define the specific and tangible marketing goals. How do you plan to gain recognition and support? What does the business do to achieve the result of these marketing efforts? How do you plan on marketing the business to the target clients? How do you plan to promote your services? Explain how clients will benefit from your services.  
  • Program operation(s): What are the business hours? Is there emergency contact information? Provide a description of how you are going to implement the services being offered. Also, include any pricing information.
  • Organization and management: How is this business managed and run? Include information about how and where services are offered, location of business, legal issues (permits, health regulations, travel, communication) and how to manage personnel. Is there an organizational chart or Board of Directors?
  • Financial management and staffing projections: What is the business financial plan consisting of projections, budgets (start up and annual), and performance, for the next few years? What accounting or bookkeeping systems will you have in place to ensure that business operating funds are kept separate from wards’ funds and to ensure a separate and complete accounting of each ward’s funds (as required in Wis. Admin. Code § DHS 85.12(6))?
  • Staff development: What training or staff development do you plan to ensure that employees are trained in: job responsibilities; prevention and reporting of abuse, neglect or misappropriation of ward property; information regarding needs and services for each ward; information about local resources; best practices for corporate guardians (i.e. as developed by the Wisconsin Guardianship Association (WGA) or the National Guardianship Association (NGA); and agency policies and procedures. What plan do you have for employee continuing education (as required by Wis. Admin. Code § DHS 85.10(2))?

Contact Us

For questions regarding corporate guardianships email or call 608-266-8481.

Last Revised: September 16, 2019