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What does a guardian do?

Typically, a guardian takes care of a child's personal needs, including shelter, education, and medical care. A guardian may also provide financial management for a child's assets, although sometimes a second person (often called a "guardian of the estate") is appointed for this purpose.

When does a guardianship end?

A guardianship ordinarily lasts until the earliest of these events:

  • the child reaches legal age (usually 18)
  • the child dies
  • the child's assets are used up (if the guardianship was set up solely for the purpose of handling the child's finances), or
  • a judge determines that a guardianship is no longer necessary.

Even if a guardianship remains in force, a guardian may step down from his or her role with permission from the court. In that case, a judge will appoint a replacement guardian if necessary.

What is a guardian ad litem?

A guardian ad litem is a person appointed by the court to stand in the shoes of a minor in a court proceeding in which the minor has some interest. The court can also appoint a guardian ad litem for an adult who can't care for him or herself. Often, the guardian ad litem is a parent, close relative, or attorney. Some states also authorize the appointment of a guardian ad litem to represent a child's interests in a divorce case that involves custody issues.

If a guardian ad litem is not an attorney, the minor or disabled adult is frequently represented by an attorney as well.

Copyright 2005 Nolo

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Disclaimer

This publication and the information included in it are not intended to serve as a substitute for consultation with an attorney. Specific legal issues, concerns and conditions always require the advice of appropriate legal professionals.

 




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The Law Offices of Michael R. Magaril
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Westfield, NJ 07090
Phone: (908) 389-0100
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Email: mrm@magaril.com