Attorneys at Fullerton, Lemann, Schaefer & Dominick, LLP help children and families in San Bernardino and Riverside Counties and throughout the Inland Empire Region of Southern California with guardianship proceedings. Whether due to death, physical or mental incapacity, incarceration or other reasons, a child's parents may become incapable of caring for the child. In that case, the court may appoint a guardian to care for the child and make legal decisions on the child's behalf.
Definition of a Guardianship
Guardianship is a court proceeding where a judge gives someone who is not the parent custody of the child and/or the power to manage the child’s property and finances.
Guardian of the Person
When people think of guardianships, they mostly think of guardians over the person. In this type of guardianship, the guardian has physical and legal custody of the child and is responsible for the safety, care, and well-being of the child, including the child’s:
- Food, clothing and shelter
- Safety and protection
- Medical and dental care
- Physical and emotional growth
- Education and any special needs
Guardian of the Estate
A guardian may also be appointed over the estate of a minor. This type of guardian is responsible to manage the child's finances until he or she turns 18, at which time the person becomes legally responsible as an adult for managing his or her own finances. The guardian of the estate is responsible for:
- Managing the child’s money
- Making investment decisions
- Carefully managing the child’s property
Are Two Different Guardians Required?
It is not uncommon for the court to appoint one person to be both the guardian of the person and the guardian of the estate in a single guardianship proceeding. The main focus is what is in the child's best interest.
Who Can Serve as Guardian
Relatives, friends of the family or other persons can serve as guardians. There are many important factors to consider in deciding who to nominate as guardian of your child. Your estate planning attorney can give you advice and guidance on the selection of a guardian for your child.
Nominating a Guardian in a Will
You can name who you want to serve as guardian of your minor child and your child’s estate in your will. If both parents are deceased, the court will decide who should serve as guardian. The court will try to respect your wishes and appoint the person you have named in your will, but the court will also consider what is in the best interest of the child in appointing a guardian.
Guardianships involve important legal rights that have a lasting impact on you and your family. At Fullerton, Lemann, Schaefer & Dominick, LLP, our firm has developed a strong reputation in the legal community for our commitment to our clients' interests and our ability to achieve positive results. Let us help you obtain a positive outcome in your guardianship matter. Contact Fullerton, Lemann, Schaefer & Dominick, LLP today.