Rights and Responsibilities of a Guardian ( California Probate Code 2350-2360)
The rights and responsibilities of a guardian depend on what type of legal guardianship has been established: guardianship of the person or guardianship of the estate.
Rights of a Guardian of the Person
For a guardianship of the person, you would have the following rights:
• Place to live
As the legal guardian, you will decide where the child is going to live. If you want to move with the child within the state, you must provide written notice to the court. If you wish to move out of the state, you must seek the court’s permission.
As the legal guardian, you can decide where the child will get an education. You must stay involved in the child’s education and help the child.
As the legal guardian, you can make decisions about the proper care and medical needs of the child.
• Counseling/Mental Health
As the guardian, you will decide if the child needs counseling or other mental health services. However, if you wish to place the child in a mental health institute, you must seek a court order.
• Driver’s License
As the child’s guardian, you may give permission to the child to apply for a driver’s license. If you permit the child, you must get car insurance for the child. If the child is involved in an accident, you may be responsible for any damage caused by the accident.
As the legal guardian, you may give permission to the child to enlist in the military. But if the child enters the military, the guardianship ends and the child is declared an adult.
For the child to get married, both you and the court must give permission. However, if the child marries, the guardianship ends and the child is declared an adult.
Responsibilities of a Guardian of the Person
If you are appointed as the guardian of the person, you have the following responsibilities:
Guardians, like parents, are responsible for the harm or damages the child causes. Thus, as the child’s guardian, you are also responsible for the intentional acts of the minor, the negligent supervision of the minor, or the negligent entrustment of a motor vehicle to the child.
As the legal guardian, you may not allow the child to live with his or her parents or anyone else. The child must live with you unless the judge says otherwise. You may allow the child to stay with the parents or anyone else for a short period of time. But the child must live primarily with you.
• Parental Visitation
As the child’s guardian, you must decide when and how often the parents may visit and see the child.
Guardian of the Estate
If you are appointed as a guardian of the estate, you would have the highest duty to protect the assets of the child’s estate. This is called a fiduciary duty. The fiduciary duty includes the following:
• As the guardian, you must find, collect, protect, and list all of the child’s property
• You must put all property in the estate’s name
• You must record copies of the Letters of Guardianship with the County Recorder in every county where the child owns real property
• You must keep all the child’s money and property in a separate account in the child’s name
• You may not pay yourself or your lawyer with the estate’s funds
• You may not give away any part of the estate
• You may not borrow money from the estate; AND
• You may not spend the estate’s money
If the child’s parent or parents are still alive or the child receives assets from elsewhere, you, the legal guardian, must seek permission from the court to use the estate’s money to pay for the child’s support, maintenance, or education.
Accounting of the Estate’s Funds
As the legal guardian of the child, you also has a duty to prepare a report, called an “accounting,” which details all the money collected on behalf of the estate, interests paid, money spent, reason money was spent, the date of every transaction, the purpose of each transaction, and what is left after the estate’s expenses are paid. You must file the accounting one year after becoming a guardian. You must then file a report every two years unless the estate is worth less than $7,000, the estate assets are in blocked accounts or if the court orders a report due to termination of the guardianship.
Riverside Guardianship Lawyer
The rights and responsibilities of a guardian can be very difficult and complex. For a guardianship of the estate, it is important that you have an experienced guardianship attorney to guide you through the very complex issues. The skilled guardianship lawyers at Wallin & Klarich have been practicing family law for over 30 years. We have the knowledge and experience you need in guardianship cases. With offices located in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, Victorville, West Covina, Sherman Oaks, Torrance and Ventura , there is a Wallin & Klarich attorney available wherever you happen to live. To consult with a Riverside guardianship lawyer, please call us at (888) 749-7428. We will get through this together.