Guardianship of the Person

A Guardianship of the Person is filed to appoint someone, other than a parent, to care for a minor and to make day-to-day decisions concerning the child's well-being. The person appointed by the court is called the "guardian" and assumes legal responsibility for the child. Guardians are typically relatives or other adults who are able to provide stability and care for a minor.

The court has discretion to appoint two or more joint guardians. Decisions involving two guardians must be unanimous, thus a majority must concur to exercise a power. This may pose problems if the joint guardians are unable to reach decisions together regarding the child's well-being.

A petition for appointment of a probate guardian of the person is often appropriate if, for example,

  • A responsible family member or friend is already caring for a minor whose parents are deceased, unavailable, incapacitated, incarcerated, or simply unable to assume responsibility for the child at that time; and
  • The relative or friend is willing to assume legal responsibility for the minor, without adoption, and the parents either do not oppose the appointment or parental custody would be detrimental to the minor.

Petitions for guardianship of the person often accompany a petition for temporary guardianship if there is an immediate need for intervention to protect the child either from ongoing neglect or from being suddenly removed from the place where the child has been residing for some time and from the person with whom the child has emotionally bonded.

Guardianship of the Estate

On petition of any interested party, the court may appoint a guardian to manage the minor's estate, known as a Guardianship of the Estate. This type of guardianship offers protections for the minor's estate, including court supervision of the guardian's actions, the requirement of filing periodic accounts, restrictions on how funds may be spent, and the requirement of a bond. 

Should you be in need of the establishment or change in a Guardianship, feel free to contact Fyfe Law Firm to discuss your concerns further. Call us at (858) 412-7714.

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