Ad Litem Definition and Legal Meaning
On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Ad Litem, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.
What is Ad Litem?
adj. it is a latin phrase meaning “for the purpose of the legal action only.” It refers to a party appointed by a court to act in a lawsuit on behalf of another party, who is deemed incapable of representing themselves. eg. a child or physically/mentally incapable adult need help of a third person not involved in lawsuit but to only serve as a “guardian ad litem”. When it comes to property litigation, the term is used for the person who may be appointed to act on behalf of an estate in court proceedings, when the estate’s proper representatives are unable or unwilling to act.
History and Meaning of Ad Litem
The term "ad litem" comes from Latin and means "for the lawsuit" or "for the purpose of the legal action only." It is used in a legal context to refer to a person appointed by a court to act on behalf of another party who is considered incapable of representing themselves. This person is known as a "guardian ad litem." In situations where a child or an adult with physical or mental disabilities is involved in a lawsuit, a guardian ad litem may be appointed to represent them.
In the context of property litigation, the term "ad litem" is used to describe the person appointed to represent an estate in court proceedings when the estate's proper representatives are unable or unwilling to act.
Examples of Ad Litem
An infant is involved in a lawsuit, and the court appoints a guardian ad litem to represent their interests in the case.
An individual with a severe mental illness is involved in a lawsuit, and the court appoints someone to act as their guardian ad litem.
A deceased person's heirs are disputing the distribution of the estate, and the court appoints an ad litem to represent the estate's interests.
A minor is seeking emancipation from their parents, and the court appoints a guardian ad litem to represent their interests.
A person is pursuing a medical malpractice claim but is suffering from a medical condition that impairs their decision-making ability. The court appoints a guardian ad litem to represent their interests in the claim.
Legal Terms Similar to Ad Litem
Next friend: A person who acts on behalf of another person in a lawsuit, usually a minor, but not necessarily someone who cannot represent themselves.
Power of attorney: A legal document that grants someone the power to act on behalf of another person in a specific matter or generally.
Executor: A person appointed in a will to manage the distribution of an estate after the death of the testator.