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Estate Planning Newsletter

Definition of a Guardianship

In certain cases, a minor may need to be assigned a legal guardian either because a parent is not able to care for the minor, or because the existing guardian is not competent. When a guardian is appointed, he/she will have the same custodial rights as the minor's parent.

Guardians are appointed by a court, upon application or nomination and approval, or the court may select and appoint an appropriate guardian at its discretion.

Types of Guardians

Guardian of the person:

  • Provides or arranges for the minor's residence
  • Arranges for medical treatment for the minor

Guardian of the estate:

  • Manages the minor's property
  • Invests the minor's money
  • Provides financial support and educational opportunities to the minor

Guardian of the person and estate

  • Has the combined powers of the above 2 types of guardians (custody and management of property)

Guardian of specific property:

  • Cares for certain item(s) of property belonging to the minor

Guardian ad Litem:

  • Appointed for limited, short-term purpose of prosecuting or defending a legal proceeding on behalf of the minor

Guardianship Not Permitted

  • A minor cannot have a guardian if he/she is married or has been married
  • If the minor has been married but cannot care for himself/herself, a conservator may be appointed

Termination

A guardianship will end upon the occurrence of one of the following:

  • The minor dies
  • The minor becomes 18 years old
  • The guardian dies
  • Resignation or removal of the guardian
  • A court order terminating the guardianship
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