Perhaps you have relatives or close friends making out a will and they want to include the name of someone who would be willing to serve as guardian for their child if they should die before the child becomes an adult. You told them you would think about it.
You do not know much about what is involved in becoming a guardian. However, you are willing to learn because you a rapport the child who would be your ward and believe you could do a good job of providing care.
How a guardianship develops
The probate court grants guardianship. After filing a petition, an investigation is initiated to determine whether the request is appropriate. The relatives of the child must also be informed, and the entire process will take about two months. If there is an emergency situation, such as the child’s need for immediate medical treatment, an ex parte petition for temporary guardianship of a minor may be filed. This would remain in place until the court hears the general guardianship matter.
Providing good care
There are two kinds of probate guardianship:
Guardianship of the Person: The guardian of the person, or child, generally assumes parental responsibilities. He or she would ensure the child has food, shelter and clothing and see to the child’s medical and dental care. This individual would also be responsible for the ward’s safety, education and physical as well as emotional growth.
Guardianship of the Estate: The guardian of the estate is responsible for managing the child’s money, income or property until he or she reaches the age of 18.
The same person could also become both the guardian of the person and the guardian of the estate.
Ending a guardianship
Your role as guardian of the person would end automatically when your ward reaches the age of 18. If circumstances develop that prevent you from caring for the child, you must inform the court of your reason for resigning. A new guardian would have to be named, and the process for appointment would begin all over again.