Much attention has been paid to Britney Spears lately, but it hasn’t been for her music. Because of mental health issues years ago, her estate was placed in a conservatorship, with her father as a conservator. This means that he made all of the decisions about her career, finances, and personal life.
This can happen when a person cannot make decisions on their own due to things such as age, diminished mental capacity, or other reasons. In some cases, a legal guardian may be appointed.
To learn more about what is a legal guardian and when they may be appointed, read on.
What Is a Legal Guardian?
A legal guardian has the power and authority to make decisions for the person they are the guardian of. This includes medical and legal decisions as well as decisions about their day-to-day care.
They have the same roles and responsibilities as a biological or adoptive parent would have. If you are a legal guardian, the person who you are taking care of is referred to as your “ward.” You aren’t their parent, so they aren’t your child, but you have all of the same duties as a parent.
Why Would You Have a Legal Guardian?
There are many different situations that would warrant a legal guardian. For example, if the parents of a child are deceased, the child needs a legal guardian to care for them and make decisions. Parents may specify who they want the guardian to be in their will.
If there is no will, the court will decide who the legal guardian will be based on what is best for the child. This could be a family member or family friend willing to take on care of the child. A legal guardian could also be appointed for a child if the parents are unable to care for them due to neglect, addiction, or other reasons.
Adults who cannot take care of themselves also may have a guardian appointed by the court.
How Does Guardianship Work
There are several different types of guardianship, depending on the needs of the ward.
Guardianship of a child means that the guardian has the power to make all decisions about the child. Guardianship of an adult is similar, although they are over the age of 18. This might be appropriate for an adult who is mentally incapacitated, intellectually disabled, or otherwise unable to care for themself.
There is also guardianship of an estate, where the guardian has control over the finances of a child or adult, but not their day-to-day care or medical or legal decisions.
The guardianship process can be confusing and complicated, so if you find yourself in the position to become a guardian, it’s wise to consult with an experienced guardianship attorney.
Unfortunate circumstances often lead to the need for a guardian. Now that you understand how to answer “what is a legal guardian”, you can be more informed if you are in a situation where you need to assume guardianship of a child, adult, or an estate.
If you found this explanation helpful, be sure to check out some of our other legal articles.