A guardianship is a legal relationship established when an individual or entity appointed or designated to care for minor children or disabled adults in a will or by the court.
A personal relative or a family member responsible for a minor’s protection may petition the court to nominate the guardian to become a guardian of a child either the party planning to be the guardian or other family member. A minor’s guardianship remains under control of the court until the child reaches a minimum of 18.
Guardian of a person
Guardian of a person is a guardian who has the same legal rights and responsibilities as a parent for a child. A person’s guardian may make decisions about the health, safety, health care, dental care, extracurricular activities, education, faith, travel, discipline, and associations of a child. The person’s guardian is responsible for raising and caring for the baby and is legally and financially responsible for the child’s intentional acts.
Guardian of estate
Guardian of the estate is a guardian appointed to control a minor child’s property and assets. Assets and wealth include bank accounts, estate, bonds, real property and/or personal property, and valuable assets. Someone eligible to administer the estate of the minor child, including the surviving parent if one parent of the minor child dies, may be named to an estate guardianship. A estate guardian has similar duties to a trustee: efficiently, diligently and with fiduciary responsibilities to handle the estate of the child.
There is no need for a guardian to administer the property of a child when the estate cost is less than five thousand dollars ($5,000).
The estate itself may pay attorney fees for determining the appointment of a guardian for the estate of the infant, subject to the approval of the court.
Guardianship versus Adoption in California
Adoption is different from a guardianship in California. If it is in the best interests of the child, the court may terminate the guardianship. On the other hand, the court can not terminate an adoption. In some cases, stepparents who are unable to revoke the legal rights of the biological parent may seek guardianship rather than stepping-up. If the court is secured against an adult, it is considered to be a conservatorship.
Becoming a guardian in California
In order to become a guardian in California, you have to file papers with the court in order go through a number of steps taking up to a court hearing. Filling out the court paperwork and “giving notice” to all families takes a lot of time and resources. And the majority of people make mistakes. The rules for notices are complex, and if you do not closely pursue them you will have to go back to court and it will take more time to continue with your case.
It is strongly recommended to engage an experienced attorney who may help you get your case to court, particularly if one or both parents object to the guardianship. Give us a call or contact via email today. We have over 20 years of experience representing clients in California.