A guardianship is a legal arrangement in which one person oversees the personal care and/or financial matters of a minor (i.e. under the age of 18). Guardianship is not adoption! It ends when the child reaches age 18.
There are two kinds of guardianships
1) Guardianship of the Person.
2) Guardianship of the Estate.
The first decision to make is whether you want to apply for Guardianship of the Person, the Estate or both. If you are a guardian of the person, you are responsible for seeing that the minor has proper food, shelter, education and health care. If you are guardian of the estate you are responsible for handling the finances of the minor, including overseeing the minor’s assets.
Because a guardianship conveys very broad and deep powers over a minor, the courts are very cautious and methodical in the guardianship procedures. You must formally petition the court with detailed documentation, including confidential personal and health information about the child, confidential screening information about the proposed home and proposed guardian, consent forms from the child’s parents and relatives, a declaration under the Uniform Child custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA), etc. In addition, a court investigator will be assigned to make a home visit and to prepare a report on the status of the minor and the suitability of the proposed guardian and the home. A court hearing is scheduled at which the proposed guardian and the minor must appear. Unless you obtain a waiver and consent form, all parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters of the minor must be notified in advance of the hearing so that they have an opportunity to attend and object if they wish.
We can discuss if a guardianship is right for you and whether you need a guardianship of the person, the estate or both. If you decide to go ahead we can guide you through the guardianship process and handle the required filings, document preparation and court appearances.
California Guardianship Attorney Terry L. Thompson services Contra Costa County CA and all the Bay Area. Call (925) 855-1507
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