What is a Guardianship?
A guardianship is person appointed by a probate court to have legal authority over a person, a person’s estate, or both. A guardianship does not terminate a parent’s rights but allows someone else to make decisions when a parent is unwilling or unable to adequately take care of their children. In California, guardianships are generally for unmarried minors only. The corresponding legal authority for a married minor or adult is called a conservatorship. Guardianships and conservatorships provide virtually the same powers to those appointed; however, the appointment process is different because of the different way minors are treated in the legal system.
Guardianship of the Estate vs. Guardianship of the Person
A guardianship of the estate provides a person with legal authority and decision-making powers over the estate of the minor. Any money or property is under the control of this person. A guardianship of the person provides the guardian with the decision-making power over the minor’s health and well-being. Essentially, this gives a guardian the powers a parent has over the minor. A court may grant a guardianship over both the estate and the person.
How do I Become a Guardian?
To become for guardian, you must have standing. You have standing if you are a relative of the minor, a person acting on behalf of the minor, or you are a minor 12 years old or older petitioning for a guardianship for yourself. To petition for guardianship you can nominate yourself or someone else to be the guardian.
For the guardianship to be granted you must show, and the court must determine, that the guardianship is “necessary or convenient”. Additionally, the court must approve the nominated guardian. Generally, guardianships will be granted where the parent(s) cannot provide for the child. It is best to have a lawyer help you with this process as “necessary or convenient” is a grey area where specific facts become very important. If you think that a guardianship might be necessary for a child you know it is best to get legal help. I can help you with this process whether you are a relative of the child, the child, or the parent. The best way to contact me is at my phone number, (310) 598-7191 or my email, email@example.com and we can discuss the best way to move forward with your case.