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What Are the Responsibilities of a Child’s Legal Guardian?

Whether you’re trying to assign a guardian for your child or have been named as one in someone’s will, chances are you probably have an idea about what this role is all about.

A legal guardian is someone who is tasked with caring for a child’s needs when the parent is no longer able. This legal arrangement may take place when the child’s only possible parent has died, is incapacitated, or even incarcerated.

Determining guardianship over minor children is a crucial part of any parent’s estate plan. A parent may look to their siblings, parents, other relatives, or trusted friends to be their child’s legal guardian.

Guardianship Responsibilities

When a guardianship is confirmed, this legal relationship confers certain rights upon the adult acting as the guardian. They also retain custody until the child turns 18 or a judge determines a guardian is no longer needed.

Ultimately, a child’s guardian is responsible for the following duties and more:

  • Affording costs associated with the child’s care
  • Providing a safe place to live
  • Choosing a school and setting education goals
  • Making health care decisions and affording medical care costs
  • Imparting morals and values
  • Teaching religious beliefs and lifestyle choices

Guardianships are intended to be temporary. When one or both biological parents are still alive, a guardianship doesn’t supplant the legal relationship between the child and their parents. That could occur, however, if the guardian or a third party successfully adopts the child or the court otherwise terminates parental rights.

Why People May Wish to Avoid Becoming a Guardian

People who don’t wish to become guardians can have very good reasons for turning down this role. Some may not be financially capable of being a guardian, or simply aren’t prepared to accept all of the many responsibilities of being one. Others may wish to avoid a legal conflict with relatives, especially biological parents, which may have an adverse impact on the child’s development.

If you are someone who is trying to select a guardian for your child in your estate plan, don’t make this decision lightly. Anyone who is trying to factor this matter into their estate plan should objectively consider all possible guardians and openly discuss this matter with them before making a decision. You may feel tempted or pressured to have a child placed assigned to a specific relative, but perhaps another family member or even a friend may a more appropriate selection.

Legal Assistance With Guardianship Matters

For your guardianship concerns and questions, turn to Bundren Law Firm for help. Our attorney has many years of experience guiding people like you through legal issues such as yours. Schedule a consultation with us today to learn more about our firm’s services.

Get in touch with us today by calling (918) 992-3300 or by submitting an online contact form.

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