Types of Guardianships
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Types of Guardianships

Guardianship is a legal process used to safeguard individuals who can’t care for their own well-being due to babyhood, incapacity or disability. A court will designate a legal guardian to care for an individual, called a ward, who is in need of special safeguarding. Legal guardians have the legal power to make decisions on their ward’s behalf and be a representative their ward’s personal and financial interests.

Guardianship of a Minor

Courts can designate an adult guardian for a minor’s care, that isn’t the child of the adult. Courts appoint guardianships in several situations, including when parents have deserted a minor, if a minor’s parents have expired or if a minor’s parents are unfit of providing acceptable care for the minor. Legal guardians can be a friend, member of the family, or other individual the court feels will act in the best interest of the minor. Being the legal guardian of a minor, an adult can be awarded physical custody of the minor, or they can take the role as a financial guardian that exercises management over a minor’s property. In small cases, an adult can be designated by the court to act as guardian ad litem.

  • Guardianship of the person. An adult that has legal custody of a minor is responsible of providing for the minor’s personal and physical needs. Whereas the minor’s parents are legally mandated to continue financial support for the minor, the legal guardian needs to guarantee that the minor gets food, a place to live, clothing, schooling and medical care. Legal guardians have the right to consent on behalf of the minor and make every decision in regard to the minor’s health and schooling. Legal guardians maintains custody of the minor until they reach the age of 18, or until a judge establishes that the minor is in no longer need of a guardian.
  • Guardianship of the estate. When a minor has a significant amount of capital or property, the court may designate a guardian of the estate or financial guardian, to oversee and safeguard the minor’s assets. Guardians of the estate are required make all financial decisions on behalf of the minor or when the minor becomes 18 or when the minor’s assets are exhausted.
  • Guardian ad litem. A court designates guardian ad litem as representative of a minor’s interests in legal proceedings. Guardian ad litem are usually designated in divorce cases, probate issues or in circumstances in which the minor has been abused or abandoned.

Establishing Guardianship of a Minor

A court will determine a guardianship only if it’s in the child’s best interests. This involves factors like stability in the child’s raising, the child’s declared preference, the ability of the suggested guardian to provide proper care for the child, the relationship between the minor’s parents and the suggested guardian, and any information in regard to the ethical character of the suggested guardian. Parents that anticipate difficulties in appointing a specific individual as a guardian may think about writing a letter explanation to the court to back up their choice.

A hearing is typically needed to examine reports by a court investigator based on interviews conducted with the child, the child’s parents, and the potential guardian, that is required to be an adult. You might want to nominate an alternate guardian in case your choice doesn’t get approved. When the parents disagree on who they should designate as guardian, the judge will decide between their candidates based on the best interests of the child’s.

Multiple adults may serve as the guardians of a minor at the same time. Prior to taking this step, it is critical to think about the potential of disagreements between the guardians impacting your child’s future. In many cases, nevertheless, it might make sense if one adult is better suited to give the emotional support that a minor needs, for instance, whereas another is better at handling finances. Different children of the same family may have different guardians, in which could be a good idea if they have formed relationships to specific adults already.

Guardianship of an Elderly or Incapacitated Individual

Courts name guardians, or custodian, to safeguard the interests of elderly or an incapacitated individual. Because the establishment of a guardianship could strip an individual of some of their personal rights, specific steps need be taken prior to a guardian being appointed. Individual have a right to notice and representation by counsel prior to guardianship proceedings. throughout the proceedings, the individual has the right to got to the proceeding, face witnesses and submit evidence. When the court designates a guardian, the guardian needs to respect the ward’s wishes and enable the ward with as much autonomy as they can. As mentioned above, guardianship of elderly or incapacitated individuals could include guardianship of the person, guardianship of the estate, or both.

  • Guardianship of the person. Guardianship of the person is required to have the guardian make decisions in regard to the care and assistance of an elderly or incapacitated individual. The guardian might be required to approve of and monitor medical treatments, schedule professional services, oversee living conditions, and make end of life decisions and arrangements. When making these decisions, as guardian they are expected to take into consideration the ward’s wishes and desires, in addition to their physical and financial requirements. The guardianship continues until the ward expires, or until the court comes to the decision that the guardianship is no longer needed.
  • Guardianship of the estate. A guardianship of the estate needs the guardian to undertake responsibility of the ward’s personal property. As guardian they need to take action to maintain and safeguard assets, allocate income, and acquire appraisals of their property. The guardian is required to keep the court continually informed on the estate’s status. Similar to personal guardianship, financial guardianships are ongoing until the ward expires, or the court comes to the decision that the guardianship is no longer needed.


  1. Guardianships. (2019, March 21). Retrieved January 13, 2021, from https://www.justia.com/family/guardianships/

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.

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