A guardianship is a court proceeding where the court appoints an individual to take over the care of a minor child or to manage the assets of a minor.
Although the forms required to apply for a guardianship are supposed to be "user-friendly" they are often difficult to manage for a layperson.
Guardianship of the person: If a child has no assets and has no parents available to care for the child (or children) a family member or family friend may want to step up and take care of the child. (avoiding foster care). The proposed guardian must be of sound character and have the ability to care for the child. The court investigator will interview and investigate the proposed guardian and the family situation and make a report to the court. All the paperwork must be completed properly and if the child has any native american ancestry, special notices must be given to any potential tribes with which the child may be connected.
Guardianship of the estate: If a child inherits or is entitled to monies, they cannot receive them while they are minors, they must have a guardian to properly manage the funds and to account to the court on a regular basis. Guardianships of this type may require a bond on the guardian (and the bond issuer will require the guardian have an attorney) or require funds be kept in a blocked account for the benefit of the minor that cannot be accessed without court approval.
Guardian of the person and of the estate do not have to be the same person.
Getting through the court process is an involved and can be a complicated process. Most individuals who want to act as the guardian for a person or estate of a child need the assistance of an experienced attorney to help with the court proceedings and documentation required in such a case. IF a guardianship of a person is established, legal representation can be dropped once the guardian is appointed.
If you would like to speak to someone about establishing a guardianship for a minor, call me to schedule a consultation at 707.263.5759.