Legal Guardianship

Guardianship is a legal arrangement in which one person (the "guardian") is held responsible for the protection and care of another (the "ward"). This type of relationship exists, by default, between parents and their children. Indeed, the most common situation in which guardianship becomes an issue is when a child's parents are no longer able to take care of them, and another adult (typically a relative) becomes the child's legal guardian, and assumes all of the legal responsibilities of parenthood.

There are several types of legal guardianships, each one being appropriate in different circumstances. These include: Limited Guardianship, Co-Guardianship, Guardian of property and Guardian Ad Litem

LegalMatch Law Library Managing Editor, , Attorney at Law

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Limited Guardianship

Limited guardianship is meant to remedy a situation in which the ward is an adult, and able to make many important decisions on their own, in an intelligent and rational manner. Sometimes, however, the ward is unable to make sound decisions in a few limited contexts. In these cases, the court will appoint a guardian who is allowed to act on the ward's behalf only in situations where the court has determined the ward to be unable to make his or her own rational decisions.

Co-Guardianship

In these cases, two guardians are appointed to take care of, and make decisions for, the ward. This often happens when a married couple legally adopts a child, and both of them become the child's legal guardians. It also makes it more difficult for either guardian to abuse his or her power.

Guardian of property

A guardian of property is primarily responsible for managing, as the name implies, property, for the purpose of providing for the ward's care, rather than directly caring for the ward. This property is typically a bank account, investment portfolio, rental property, or other valuable asset.

Guardian Ad Litem

A guardian ad litem is responsible for protecting the ward's interests in a legal proceeding brought by or against the ward. For example, when a child is injured, and somebody else is at fault, the child has a right to sue the person who injured them. However, a child cannot be expected to deal with filing a lawsuit, hiring an attorney, etc., so an adult (usually one of the child's parents) will serve as a guardian ad litem, acting on the child's behalf.

Find the Right Guardianship Attorney

A guardianship attorney can help you determine which guardianship arrangement, if any, is best for your particular situation. Your lawyer will also be able to draft a guardianship agreement for you, ensuring that it is enforceable, and meets the ward's needs. LegalMatch.com can help you find the right guardianship attorney in your area, to ensure that the guardianship process goes as smoothly as possible.


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