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A guardian is a person who is appointed by a court to care for an underage person or adult who cannot make sound decisions for themselves. Sometimes, some people cannot make sound decisions because they have either been injured and did not recover entirely from the accident, or they were born like that. Basically, if the person is mentally unsound or is a child, then they will need a guardian to help them with their estates. 

For the most part, a guardian is appointed when the individual no longer has immediate family members to help them to make important decisions. This will include minors like children. The authority that a guardian has over their appointed individual is also called guardianship. 

What is a conservator? 

A conservator is granted many different rights and responsibilities under the country or state’s laws. They can also be called guardians sometimes. They can be very useful in many situations when the child is not legally able to take care of themselves. For very obvious reasons, there are many scenarios where a child cannot make certain decisions for themselves. There are certain guardianships that exist for the protection of the protected person. 

Generally, a guardian can be a conservator of the “estate”. The ”estate” can also refer to any assets and properties that are left behind to the child by their biological parents. 

What can a guardian do if their conservatee is a child? 

A guardian will have legal authority over the child’s life as the court provides. The guardian will take over the child’s daily activities such as: 

  • Healthcare
  • Living arrangements
  • Properties and assets
  • Financial affairs
  • Education
  • Social affairs
  • And any and all decisions regarding the child’s belongings 

At times, the guardian may also have full guardianship. The guardian may essentially have the same rights and responsibilities as a parent have over their child. The guardian can also make the same decisions the parents make for their own children too. 

Are there any different types of guardians? 

Yes, there are different types of guardians. In a lot of countries, there may be several different types of guardianships. Each has a different kind of duty and responsibility. 

a. Guardian for a person 

The court grants the person the legal right to make final decisions for the child/adult’s daily lives. It can include a broad range of responsibilities. The court that appoints the guardian to the child will have to thoroughly know the child’s daily lives, including the social and education aspects. That way, the court can appoint someone who is responsible and can handle the child’s daily needs. 

  • At times, such guardians will need to make decisions such as: 
  • Handling any special care arrangements
  • Decide where the child will live
  • Take charge of healthcare decisions
  • Arrange for personal care, food, and other provisions 

b. Guardians of the estate 

A guardian of the estate is usually someone appointed by the court to manage the estate. They will have the legal rights to handle and manage financial affairs and make financial decisions on behalf of the child until they reach legal age. 

The court will oversee the guardian’s management of the estate and the guardian will need to obtain authorization to make certain transactions. For example, if they need to sell certain assets, the guardian will need to seek approval from the court first before being able to sell it. 

c. Guardian for both scenarios 

Generally, most appointed guardians will take responsibilities over the two. In the case where both roles are needed, then it should make sense that the court will need to appoint a guardian with authority to overlook both the person and the estate. In this case that involves a child, it’s quite likely the child will need a guardian who can handle both. 

How are guardians for children appointed? 

To establish guardianship, someone must file a petition in the appropriate court. Usually, this is done in a probate court. You will need to consult an experienced attorney, who is usually a lawyer who deals with wills, trusts, and assets. They will start you in the process of appointing the best guardian for the child. The very same lawyer will know which court to file and what documents are needed. 

There will be times when family members will be present to compete for the role of the guardian over the child. It’s a common occurrence and it’s a valid one at that. Usually, the court will favor the child’s surviving parent or surviving relative. Generally, anyone who has blood relations with the child will have more influence over being the child’s guardian. 

On the other hand, if there is no strong evidence that the blood relative can be the best guardian, then it’s quite likely a non-relative or non-blood-related person will be appointed instead. In such cases, a professional guardian will be appointed in place of the blood relative instead. 

Bottom Line 

A guardian’s job may seem very simple and easy on the surface. However, they do have a massive list of things to take care of for the child they are watching over. 

If you ever need any help with appointing a guardian, feel free to reach out to us today. We are more than happy to assist and advise you on all things about guardians here at Sim & Rahman.