Guardianship is a court proceeding in which a probate judge gives someone: the charge of education and custody of a child, the power to manage the child’s property (called an “estate”), or both.
A child under guardianship is called a ward. Usually, a person holds the status of guardian because the ward is incapable of caring for his or her own interests due to infancy, incapacity, or disability. Most states have laws that provide that the parents of a minor child are the legal guardians of that child, and that the parents can designate who shall become the child’s legal guardian in the event of their death.
A guardianship is also appointed for juveniles whose parents cannot take care of their children anymore for any number of reasons, such as a physical illness, military deployment, drug or alcohol problems, criminal imprisonment, or child neglect. In California, there are two types of guardianships:
Guardianship of the Person: A guardian of the person is responsible for meeting the child’s basic needs, including protecting and safeguarding the child, and providing food, clothing, and shelter – as well as medical care and education.
Guardianship of the Estate: A guardian of the estate may typically be provided for when a child has inherited a large sum of money or property from a deceased parent. The guardian will manage the child’s financial affairs until the child reaches the age of majority (18 years), and in many cases the surviving parent will assume the role.
If you would like more information, you may contact our Orange County guardianship attorney directly at (714) 963-7543 or fill out the free case review questionnaire on the left side of this page.