Setting up a guardianship for minor children can provide important peace of mind for the parents of the child. When setting up a guardianship, it is important to keep what is best for the child in mind and it is helpful to understand the roles and responsibilities of the guardian selected.
Roles and responsibilities of a guardian
In general, a guardian oversees the physical well-being of the child and also manages in assets in the child’s estate, as well as the child’s personal property. The roles and responsibilities of a guardian in a guardianship can include:
- Provide a legal residence that allows for the child to attend a public school;
- Apply for any public assistance benefits as needed by the child;
- Apply for public housing on behalf of the minor when necessary;
- Bring a lawsuit on behalf of the child is needed;
- Receives and maintains any money due to the child for their care and support;
- Preserve any excess funds beyond what is necessary to support the child;
- Authorize any medical care necessary for the health and well-being of the child; and
- Assure the child receives a proper education.
The guardian has a responsibility to look out for the child’s best interests. Because guardians make legal decisions on behalf of their wards, they should be carefully selected. It is helpful for parents to be familiar with process of establishing a guardianship and to avoid some of the pit falls discussed previously on this blog. Guardianships can be an important estate planning tool and can also be established for elderly individuals or incapacitated individuals.