Guardianships

A guardianship is typically necessary in two circumstances:  the minor’s parents have either died or are considered unfit to be primary caregivers, or the minor has received cash or other assets.  There are two types of guardianship:  guardianship of the person and guardianship of the estate.

If the minor’s parents have died or are considered unfit, a relative or concerned individual may petition the court to be appointed guardian of the minor’s person.  If granted, that person will have full authority to make personal decisions on behalf of the minor.  Typical personal decisions include health care and schooling.  A guardianship of the estate is usually not necessary in these cases as the minor will usually not have an estate of his or her own.

If a minor receives cash or other assets (typically the result of receiving life insurance benefits), a guardian of the estate will need to be appointed to receive the money on behalf of the minor.  This will often be necessary even if the minor’s parents are still alive, particularly when dealing with insurance companies.  In most cases, the money will be placed into a blocked account until the minor reaches the age of eighteen.