Does Your Loved One Need A Guardian Of The Estate?

Legal guardianship is an important tool to protect your loved ones. It helps someone who cannot make certain decisions for themselves by providing a guardian to make assigned decisions. And while many people view the role of guardian as just one category, it can actually take several different forms. 

One of these is the guardian of the estate. What does this type of guardian do? And is it the best choice in your situation? Here are some answers to your questions. 

What Is a Guardian of the Estate?

This guardianship authorizes the guardian to make financial decisions for the person under their guardianship. This includes paying the person's bills, managing their money, making investment choices, paying for medical or other care, and protecting their assets. The guardian of the estate does not make personal decisions for the ward, such as health care choices. These are either the right of the ward or they are made by a guardian of the person.

How Is the Ward Protected?

The role of the guardian of the estate is a weighty one, and it can have the potential for being misused. So state laws set out parameters under which the guardian must operate. In many states, for example, the guardian cannot buy or sell assets without the court's approval. They usually must provide reports and statements to the court detailing how the person's money was spent in the previous period. And the individual or the guardian of the person can often request assistance from the court if the guardian of the estate does not fulfill their fiduciary duty. 

When Is a Guardian of the Estate Needed?

One of the most common uses for a guardian of the estate is when a child inherits assets from a deceased parent or their parent is absent. Someone would often be appointed as guardian of the person, but that may or may not be the same person as the guardian of the estate. Not every individual is a good fit for both jobs. 

When it comes to adults, a guardian of the estate can be named if the ward has a temporary or permanent disability (including advanced age) that prevents them from managing their own assets. This may or may not coincide with the appointment of a guardian of the person since the individual may be able to make personal decisions on their own. 

Where Can You Learn More?

Is guardianship of the estate right for your loved one? Find out by meeting with an experienced lawyer in your state. With their guidance, you'll soon find the best path to ensure a stable and happy outcome for everyone. 

Contact a local guardianship lawyer to learn more.