Chula Vista Guardianship Attorneys
Helping Clients Navigate Issues of Guardianship
When a child can no longer be cared for by one or both parents, they will need a guardian appointed to care for their interests until they become a legal adult. Parents who leave behind a last will and testament will typically name a guardian for their children. This will often be a family member or a trusted friend. Other times, a guardianship may need to be sought and approved by a court if surviving parents cannot adequately care for a child. Guardianships can also be employed in situations where adults are unable to take care of themselves.
No matter your situation, our Chula Vista guardianship lawyers at The Sexton Law Firm are committed to helping you resolve issues of guardianship. Whether you seek to petition to become a child or adult’s guardian or need assistance in understanding your legal responsibilities associated with guardianship, our team is ready to serve as your advocate. We are empathetic to the circumstances that necessitate the consideration of guardianship and will do whatever is possible to make the process as painless and efficient as possible.
What Is a Guardianship?
A guardianship is a legal arrangement in which a court appoints a guardian to manage the affairs of a minor child or an adult in certain situations. It is important to note that guardianship is not equivalent to adoption. Guardianships will either end by default when a child becomes a legal adult or when an adult ward becomes able to care for themselves. A court can also choose to remove or replace a guardian at its discretion.
In California, guardianships are categorized into guardianships of the person and guardianships of the estate. Someone assigned guardianship of the person has physical and legal custody over the individual. Someone granted guardianship of the estate also has the ability to manage the property and finances of the individual. Guardianships of the estate are typically authorized in situations where a minor child or incapacitated adult have inherited or control a substantial number of assets.
What Are the Responsibilities of a Guardian?
Taking on any type of guardianship is a tremendous responsibility, the specifics of which depend on the category of guardianship granted. Should you fail to honor these obligations, your guardianship can be revoked.
A guardian responsible for a person is responsible for the wellbeing and development of the individual, which includes managing their:
- Overall safety and protection
- Shelter, food, and clothing
- Medical and dental care
- Education and any necessary accommodations
In many ways, a guardian has the same responsibilities that a parent would, whether they are overseeing a minor child or incapacitated adult. It should be noted that guardians can be held liable for the actions of their wards.
A guardian responsible for an estate has additional responsibilities, including:
- Honoring a fiduciary duty to the ward
- Managing funds and assets
- Making strategic and intelligent investments
Guardianships of the estate can become important for minor children who are bequeathed large inheritances from their parents or other loved ones. Sometimes the court will appoint a single individual to handle both guardianship of the person and guardianship of the estate. The court may choose to divide the roles.
Guardians of all types operate under the supervision and scrutiny of the court. Guardians are expected to submit status updates on the child or adult’s condition and progress. Our Chula Vista guardianship attorneys can help you understand what will be expected of you as a guardian and represent you should any conflicts or complications arise.
Who Needs a Guardianship?
Guardianship is intended for individuals who are not capable of managing their affairs. This includes any minor children whose parents pass away. However, guardianships can also become necessary in some situations where parents become unable to care for their children.
Guardianship can be explored in situations where one or both parents of a minor child are:
- Suffering from significant physical or mental disabilities
- Suffering from drug or alcohol abuse issues
- Showing signs of abusive behavior
In any situation where one or both parents are unable to adequately meet the needs of a minor child, a guardianship can be sought and considered. The process of petitioning to become a guardian can be protracted and difficult, especially if one or both parents object to losing full custody of their child. Children who are at least 12 years of age are typically allowed some say in the matter.
Adults who are disabled or incapacitated may also require guardianships. This can be common in situations where an elderly loved one is no longer able to take care of themselves or manage their estate. In these cases, an appointed guardian will be authorized to make decisions about a person’s healthcare, financial affairs, and any other matter that they cannot handle independently.
What Can a Legal Guardianship Attorney Near You Do to Help?
The loss of a parent can be an overwhelming experience for a child, and the legal process of guardianship can make it even more difficult. Fortunately, experienced Chula Vista guardianship attorneys are available to provide guidance and support during this challenging time. They understand the intricacies of California probate law and will help you navigate any issues related to child or adult guardianship or other matters that may arise. With their knowledge of how the court system works, they'll ensure your case is handled efficiently and with care.
Some of the services a guardianship attorney can provide include:
- Assist with filing and completing guardianship petition paperwork
- Represent clients in court hearings related to guardianship petitions
- Advise on the obligations and rights of a guardian as outlined by California probate law
- Help craft legal documents for guardianship agreements, such as medical powers of attorney, health care proxies, etc
- Facilitate dispute resolution between transferors (those granting control over another person) and transferees (those receiving control) regarding guardianships
- Provide support throughout the entire process of establishing appropriate custody arrangements in cases involving minors or adults with disabilities
- Advocate on behalf of their client’s interests during any contested proceedings or negotiations related to a proposed guardianship
- Collect relevant evidence necessary to demonstrate why a particular individual should be appointed as guardian
- Develop strategies that can help secure favorable rulings from courts when seeking appointment as a guardian
- Assess if an existing arrangement should remain valid or if modifications are needed
We Can Help You Pursue Guardianship
In situations where you are not the appointed guardian of a deceased parent, attaining a guardianship can be extremely challenging. Our Chula Vista guardianship lawyers at The Sexton Law Firm are prepared to help you navigate the petitioning process. We can evaluate your concerns about guardianship and the individuals involved before advising on what steps you should consider taking to protect the vulnerable child or adult. Should any disputes or problems develop in the course of seeking or maintaining a guardianship, our team can do whatever it takes to defend you.
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