Becoming A Legal Guardian

Guardianships are a common solution to help children with personal and financial guidance before the age of 18. A guardianship assigns legal responsibility to an adult for a minor child whose parents are unable or unfit to look after them. Guardianships are also used when a minor is set to inherit assets, such as money, from a probate matter or legal proceeding. In those situations, an adult, such as a parent or grandparent, must open a guardianship on behalf of the minor so the inheritance can be transferred to the guardian to hold for the minor's benefit. There are several responsibilities involved if you are interested in becoming a guardian. Your legal responsibilities would include the following for the child:

  • Financial support
  • Education
  • Health care
  • Food, clothing and housing

Guardianships for children should not be confused with custody or adoption. Custody is established for separating parents and adoption creates a new parental relationship over a child. Custody and adoption matters are handled in the family court. A guardianship is typically established to allow adults, such as grandparents, family members, or other interested parties, to have certain legal rights and responsibilities for a child that is not their own child. In addition, a guardianship can be terminated by the California court if it is in the best interests of the child. Our attorneys can help you promptly complete all necessary steps and paperwork to become a guardian or to terminate a guardianship.

Shape Guardianship To The Child's Needs

There are different types of guardianships depending upon the needs of the child. There are three different types:

  • Guardianship of the child (the child's welfare, health, education, etc.)
  • Guardianship of the child's estate (financial)
  • Guardianship of both the child and their estate

Some minors may only need guardianship over their financial affairs. For example, a minor may require supervision of their estate if they inherit money from a deceased relative (such as a life insurance payout) or are set to receive moneys from a legal settlement. A parent, family member, or another interested party may only receive these funds once an official guardianship is established. The funds may be placed in a blocked account and released upon the minor reaching the age of 18. Alternatively, the guardian has the power to invest the funds and provide accountings to the court on an annual/bi-annual basis.

You can become a guardian of their estate to help manage their finances and place funds into savings or a trust. The estate planning attorneys at Conover & Grebe, LLP, can help you determine which type of guardianship is best for your situation.

Compassionate Attorneys Available For Consultation

Our attorneys understand that this can be a difficult and confusing time for you and the child. We will help you navigate the legal process with experience and compassion. Fill out our online contact form, or call our office today in Torrance, to schedule a personal consultation with one of our lawyers at 310-776-9028.