Los Angeles Guardianship Attorney
When a minor child’s legal parent dies or becomes incapacitated, the state must decide how best to care for the child. The state will typically appoint a legal guardian to be the caretaker of the child until they are 18 years old. Guardians are essentially entrusted with the duties of a legal parent and are expected to take care of their wards as they would if they were a biological or adoptive parent. There are several different categories of guardianship, each with different levels of responsibilities and powers. Different individuals could qualify to be appointed guardian, depending on the circumstances and the nature of the child.
If you have a loved one who has lost their parent and you are interested in pursuing a temporary or permanent guardianship, call a compassionate and knowledgeable California guardianship attorney for assistance. Our estate planning and family law attorneys understand the complexities of familial relationships as well as we know California guardianship law, and we will help you pursue the best legal option for your family and yourself.
Types of Guardianships in California
Guardianship for minors
Legal guardianship for minors involves appointing a person to make decisions on behalf of the minor, acting in a parental capacity. Typically, a court will appoint a guardian for a minor upon the death, incapacity, incarceration, or legal determination of unfitness of the minor’s legal parent.
There are three general types of guardianships for minors in California: Informal guardianship; temporary legal guardianship; and permanent legal guardianship. Depending on the type of guardianship, the guardian will have powers and responsibilities including making medical and financial decisions on behalf of the ward, assuring the maintenance and care of the ward, and regularly reporting to the court on the status of the guardianship.
Informal guardianship occurs when a person only takes physical custody of a minor for a short period of time. Their ability to make decisions for the ward will be relatively limited. Informal guardianship is appropriate when a minor’s parent is hospitalized for a long period or leaves the country, or when the parties do not wish a formalized court order of guardianship. Legal guardianship is permanent and can only be revoked through court action, while informal guardianship is a revocable form of temporary relief.
Temporary and permanent guardianships are appropriate when a minor’s parent is either deceased or likely to be permanently incapacitated, and where it is appropriate to legally establish a new, permanent caretaker for the child. If a child needs a guardian immediately, the court can appoint a temporary guardian on short notice pending a full hearing on a formal guardianship appointment. Often, the putative guardian will apply for both temporary and permanent guardianship at the same time, so that they can care for a child while the formal hearing is still underway. Legal guardians, both temporary and permanent, have control over important decisions pertaining to the health, care, and finances of a ward.
Guardianship for adults
In California, “guardianship” always refers to the guardianship of minors. When a person is appointed by the court to handle the affairs of another adult due to incapacity caused by a disability, illness, or injury, it is known as a “conservatorship.”
Who Can Be a Guardian?
The court may legally appoint as guardian any qualified person over the age of 18 who has no criminal convictions. When choosing a guardian, the court is likely to take into account the wishes of the minor, any preexisting relationship between a possible guardian and the ward (such as being a grandparent or other family member, or being a neighbor or family friend), and the fitness of the proposed guardian as a caretaker. The legal parents may have already established a durable power of attorney to decide who should be the guardian of their child should they become incapacitated.
If you are seeking to become the guardian of a minor, speak with an experienced California guardianship attorney to help you through the guardianship process and understand your rights, powers, and responsibilities.
Compassionate Estate Planning and Family Law Attorneys for Guardianships and More in Claremont and Los Angeles County
Get help choosing, establishing, and managing legal guardianships to ensure the welfare of yourself and your loved ones in California by contacting an experienced, knowledgeable Claremont guardianship lawyer at Blasser Law at 877-927-2181.