If the parents of a child die before appointing a legal guardian for their child, a probate court may appoint an adult guardian to take care of the child. This is called a Probate Guardianship.
The Probate Court can only grant a probate guardianship if the child is not involved in a Family Court or a Juvenile Court action. A guardian generally has the same responsibilities as a parent and is responsible for the child's personal needs, including shelter, education, and medical care.
Types of Probate Guardianship:
- Probate Guardianship of the Estate.
- Probate Guardianship of the Person.
- Probate Guardianship of Person and the Estate.
Role of Probate Guardianship of the Estate:
- Manage a child's money or property until the child turns 18 years of age. This type of guardianship is necessary if whoever left the child money or property did not appoint a guardian to manage the child's estate.
Role of Probate Guardianship of the Person:
- Takes over the legal, financial, and emotional responsibilities of caring for the child.
If the parents of a child are alive, a judge can still order a probate guardianship if::
- The parents are not opposed to the guardianship and the judge deems it necessary or convenient.
- The parents are opposed to the guardianship, but staying with either parent could be harmful for the child.
- The guardianship is in the best interest of the child.
- The parents of a child are not willing or able to take care of the child.
If you would like to become the legal guardian of a child in California, you have to file papers with your county's superior court. An investigator will evaluate your application and make a recommendation to the judge who will review your case and make a decision.
Who Can File For Guardianship:
- Uncles or aunts
- Other relatives
- Family friends
- Anyone over the age of 18
If a child's parents are alive and they are opposed to you becoming their child's guardian, they may state their opposition in writing to The Court. If this happens, The Court may not be able to give you guardianship of the child. If, however, the parents have abandoned their child, or keeping the child with the parents is not in the child's best interests, the judge may override the parents' opposition.
For example, if a boy's parents do not want his grandparents to become the child's legal guardians, but the boy's father is incarcerated at a prison in Milpitas and the mother has a history of beating the child, a judge can still approve the guardianship petition and send the child to Palo Alto to live with his grandparents.
Becoming the guardian of a child or his or her estate is a very important and serious matter, and whether you are filing for guardianship or you need help with your role as a probate guardian, an estate planning lawyer can assist you.
Our attorneys at Sagaria Law, P.C. are experienced in handling probate guardianship and other estate planning-related matters. If you have questions or need help regarding probate guardianship matters, do not hesitate to contact one of our experienced probate lawyers to discuss your situation and the options available to you.