A guardian acts as a surrogate decision-maker who determines personal and financial decisions for a minor who is incapacitated, has lost his or her parents, or is dealing with mental or physical disabilities. The guardian is appointed by a judge, and the person the guardian is responsible for is a ward of the court.
When is a guardian needed?
A minor whose parents have died or is incapacitated requires a guardian, as does a minor who is expected to receive an inheritance or the proceeds of a lawsuit or insurance policy so that the funds are properly protected until the minor becomes an adult.
What are the risks?
We have all heard horror stories about family members abusing their role when it comes to the family finances, leaving the ward without any of the benefits that were originally meant for him or her. Family members, however, are not the only people who can be appointed guardians. Guardians can also be appointed by the state, and they will be paid from the estate of the ward, which creates its own set of potential problems.
Who should you look for in a potential guardian?
Given the risk factors, it’s important to make an informed decision when appointing a guardian. Appointed guardians should only make decisions granted to them and should act in the ward’s best interests. Do your research, consider going through a trusted attorney, and make sure that any guardian you choose keeps records and allows you access to your loved one at all times.
Do you need the advice of an attorney?
Attorney Marivel Zialcita and MMZ Law can help you make informed decisions regarding guardianship of a loved one. If you have questions or concerns, please call us today.