What is a guardian? A guardian is the adult who is legally responsible for the needs of a minor. In California, you can only become a guardian if you are appointed by the court.
There are two types of guardianship. The first, is guardianship of the person, which means the guardian has custody and responsibility for the minor. The second, is guardianship of the estate, which means the guardian has the legal responsibility to manage the assets of the minor. When a person is appointed as a guardian, he/she has the responsibility of caring for all of the minor’s needs which includes: food, shelter, education, health care, and well-being. The guardian will also be able to make medical decisions concerning the minor. Typically, a guardianship lasts until the minor turns 18.
In order to make sure there are no issues or hiccups in the guardianship process, you want to make sure you hire an estate planning attorney to prepare the necessary guardianship documentation and to guide you through the process. Some good reasons to hire a qualified estate planning attorney is if you think some family member will challenge or contest the guardianship, if the minor stands to inherit a substantial amount of assets at your death, or if the minor is emotionally of physically disabled.