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Types of Guardianships

Guardianship of the Person

  • Guardianship of the person allows the guardian to make personal and medical decisions for the ward (the ward is the person over whom the guardianship is granted).
  • Guardianships that involve minors or adults unable to care for themselves are usually guardianships of the person.
  • Guardians are required to file an annual report of guardian. A fill in the blank form can be obtained through your local court.
  • When a guardian has guardianship of the person over a minor child, he or she steps into the shoes of the parent and has the right to make decisions for the child.

Guardianship of the Estate

  • Guardianship of the estate allows the guardian to make financial decisions for the ward.
  • Guardianships of the estate are requested when the ward has property or assets that need to be overseen. If the ward has no assets and it is not foreseeable that the ward will receive assets, guardianship of the estate may not be needed and may result in additional unnecessary work.
  • When a minor child inherits or acquires property, a parent may be required to obtain a guardianship of the estate to manage and oversee the child’s funds until the child becomes 18.
  •  Annual accountings are required unless the court grants summary administration, which may allow a guardian to file accounting every two years, three years, or more.
    • Summary administration is usually only granted when the estate is under $5,000 or under special circumstances such as when the estate is in a trust and cannot be accessed.
    • Accountings must detail the ward’s assets and include any disbursements from the ward’s account, including those approved by the court. The court takes accountings VERY seriously and may terminate the guardianship or sanction a guardian if funds are not carefully accounted for.
    • Guardians MUST retain receipts for disbursements made from the ward’s accounts or for anything the guardian purchased on the ward’s behalf if the guardian will later seek reimbursement.
    • The court will probably request detailed receipts and records for all disbursements made from the ward’s account so keep all receipts.
    • The court will most likely NOT approve an expense if there is not a receipt for it or it is not carefully documented.
    • All disbursements from the wards account must be for expenses benefitting only the ward!!! The ward’s funds belong only to the ward.
    • The court CAN and HAS ordered a guardian to repay funds withdrawn from a ward’s account without court approval. When in doubt, do NOT spend the ward’s funds.
  • The Court may require that all of the ward's funds be placed into a blocked account through any financial institution.
    • EXCEPTION: Social Security death benefits received by a minor child may be spent for the care/maintenance of the ward without court permission.
    • A Proof of Blocked Account form must be filed with the court once the ward’s funds have been placed into the blocked account.
    • The document must provide the name of the guardian, the ward’s name, the institution with which the funds were deposited, the account number and name, and the amount.
    • The document must state that the funds are in a blocked account and that no funds may be withdrawn without court order.
    • The document must be signed by an authorized individual from the financial institution.
  • Court approval must be obtained before liquidating or selling any of the ward’s assets.
  • Once again, guardians may NOT utilize funds without court approval!
    •  The court may approve a budget or requests for allotments from the ward’s account for maintenance or care of the ward.
    • A guardian of the estate who is the ward’s parent may NOT withdraw funds from a ward’s account for expenses that a parent would normally be responsible for such as food, clothing, housing the ward, or birthday gifts.
    • Guardians may obtain court approval for special expenses such as private school tuition, purchase of car, or college preparatory expenses.
  • Guardianship of the Person and Estate

    Allows the guardian to make all financial and personal decisions for the ward. This type of guardianship carries the restrictions and rights of both of the above types of guardianship.