Parents are generally a minor’s default legal guardians. In itself, parents are responsible for decision making to develop or maintain their child’s well-being. Often, on the other hand, a child’s parents can’t take the role as guardians, so a child might require someone other than their parents to make legal decisions for them. In this guardianship of minor circumstances, a guardian is chosen intentionally by the family or named by a court.
A guardian is an individual that makes legal decisions for another individual —referred to as a ward— that is, unintentionally, unable to make those decisions by themselves. Keep reading to learn more about the selection of guardians, guardianship terminations, and the roles and responsibilities guardians have, concerning their wards.
Guardianship of Minors: Choosing a Guardian
A guardian should be chosen with the minor’s best interest in mind. Courts prefer to select a guardian that has ties to the ward, like an individual selected by the ward, a parent, or another family member.
Prior to a non-parent being selected as a guardian, a court is required to deem the parents’ incapable or unfit to safeguard the best interests of the minor (if the parents are still living). Nevertheless, some states allow parents to approve to a guardianship. When minors are taken out of the care and supervision of their parents and adoption is neither an impending nor feasible option, guardianship of the minor is deemed a reasonable option.
Even following a guardian being selected for a minor, a lot of state regulations provide that a minor may, after they have reached a specific age —14 in some states— choose (or at least convey a preference for) who is going to be chosen to serve as their guardian.
Guardianship of a Minor: Roles and Obligations
A guardian oversees the straightforward physical welfare of the minor and any assets held in their estate. They are also required to:
- Provide a legal living quarters for their ward
- Register their school-aged ward in public or private school
- Request for public assistance benefits for a minor, if necessary
- Request for public housing for a minor where necessary
- File court action on behalf of the minor as required
The guardian also receives and sustains any money unpaid to the minor for their care and/or support. They have the requirement to maintain, justify, and conserve any extra funds beyond what is necessary for the minor’s support. The guardian has a responsibility to look after the minor’s personal belongings and assure the ward’s suitable education.
The guardian is required to also authorize any needed medical or other care for the welfare and health of the ward. Typically, the guardian provides any type of care that would typically be given to a child by their parents.
Guardianship of Minors: Terminating the Guardianship
Any guardianship can be terminated when the minor comes to the age of majority. Nevertheless, the guardianship can be reinstated by the court following that point, if it can be proven that the ward still necessitates supervision.
Guardianships can also be terminated should the ward gets married, and guardianships are automatically terminated if the ward passes away. Additionally, the guardianship can be terminated, and a new guardian named, if it can be proven that the guardian did not sufficiently perform their responsibilities to the ward.
Get Legal Assistance Concerning Your Minor Guardianship
The very emotional situation in which guardianship matters exist makes self-representation a high-risk proposal. An attorney can represent your matters in an organized and professional way, using their knowledge of the law rather than distress or resentment
Staff, F. L. (2021, December 8). Guardianship of minors. Findlaw. Retrieved June 22, 2022, from https://www.findlaw.com/family/guardianship/guardianship-of-minors.html
Arizona Family Law
Naming guardians in your will can be part of your estate plan. You may think you’re too young or don’t have enough money to justify the expense, but if you have children, you have priceless assets. There are many considerations when naming guardians for your kids. However, the process doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated.
There’s nothing better than the peace of mind you will have knowing you’ve protected your family at a time when they need it most. Let us help. Schedule a consultation or contact Ogborne Law, PLC of Arizona today.