Parental Matters: What Are the Rights and Responsibilities of Being a Legal Guardian?

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Parental Matters
Image Courtesy of: Kelly Sikkema

There is a great deal of confusion when it comes to Legal Guardians and what potential rights and responsibilities they have when it comes to caring for those they are legally responsible for. Legal Guardians usually come into play when there is a minor involved, accident victim or an elderly individual who do not have the proper faculties to live on their own and make sound financial decisions. Having a Legal Guardian is something that is essential to safeguard the beneficiary’s interests when it comes to how they are able to utilize their income as well as how they are protected financially in the future. Deciding to become a Legal Guardian is not a decision to take lightly as it has many responsibilities to consider. Before making your final decision to become a Legal Guardian, consider the information below:

What Rights and Legal Duties to Legal Guardians Have?
Legal Guardians have a great deal of authority to protect a minor or individual who is not
mentally sound to make decisions in their best interests. Legal Guardians have the authority to arrange for personal care expenses for a minor or elderly individual out of a trust’s funding and they do not necessarily have to be family members. In addition, Legal Guardians are able to invest assets in the individual’s trust they are protecting along with manage all real estate and tangible property. The Legal Guardian has to handle all taxes of the individual’s affairs and also serve as a legal representative in court should the need arise. Another important duty that Legal Guardians have is that they have to provide an annual accounting of the estate in order to safeguard the beneficiary’s interests in the long term.

Why Legal Guardians Are Important in Estate Planning
Legal Guardians are important to be aware of when planning one’s estate. AnnArborProbate.com utilizes Legal Guardians when there are parties that need additional legal safeguarding. For example, minors do not have enough knowledge and experience in the world to make sound financial decisions. Neither do elderly individuals who are losing their memory. Having a Legal Guardian in place makes all legal procedures easier and also ensures that the beneficiaries are able to obtain what is legally entitled to them and what their parents or grandparents intended when they originally drafted their wills or trusts.

Final Remarks
It is important to research carefully before deciding to take on the responsibility of being a Legal Guardian due to the multitude of obligations that it entails. It is also wise for those that are planning their estates to think carefully about who will be the Legal Guardian in the event of a sudden death or emergency. By having a comprehensive knowledge of the various estate planning options available, it will be simple to designate a Legal Guardian to look after one’s best interests or those of their children in the long term when the time comes.

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