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Guardianship of a Minor
A Guardian of a minor is someone
other than a parent who is appointed by the judge to make decisions for a child
under the age of 18. Generally, the Guardian of a minor has the same authority and
responsibility that a parent has to provide food, housing, medical care, education
and supervision. Unlike a parent, a Guardian is not required to provide for the
child from personal funds, and is not necessarily financially responsible to others
for the actions of the ward, just because of the Guardianship.
A Guardian may be appointed for a minor in one of two ways: by will of a deceased
parent or by court appointment. Anyone interested in the welfare of a minor may
ask the court for appointment to act as Guardian.
If the minor has property, income, or a settlement from an insurance company, the
judge may also appoint a Conservator
to take responsibility
for the finances. Often the Guardian and the Conservator are the same person, although
responsibilities and court requirements differ for each type of appointment.
The Guardian's authority and responsibility ends when the minor marries, or turns
18, or the Guardian is removed or resigns, but the judge must approve the Guardian's
resignation in an official court order before the Guardianship is officially ended.