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Guardian and Ward

Selection Of A Guardian

Courts of general jurisdiction in most states have the authority to appoint guardians. Typically, probate courts and juvenile courts hear cases involving guardianship. Probate courts, which oversee the administration of the estates of decedents, are the most common forum for the appointment of guardians. Juvenile courts decide on the appointment of guardians when a child has been removed from the home because of abuse or neglect, or has been declared a ward of the court. Generally, a court can appoint a guardian for a minor wherever the child lives. If a child lives in one state and has title to real estate in another state, a guardian can be appointed where the property is, in order to manage it.

A parent can appoint a guardian, usually by naming the guardian in a will. Some state laws allow a child to choose his or her own guardian if the child is over a certain age, usually 14. A court must approve the choice if the proposed guardian is suitable, even if the court believes someone else would be a better choice. Before approving the child's choice, however, the court must satisfy itself that the child understands the effect of the nomination and that the choice is not detrimental to the child's interests or contrary to law.

Guardianship statutes specify which persons have the right to ask a court to appoint a guardian for a certain child. Most of these laws list people who would be expected to have an interest in the child's WELFARE, usually relatives. Some statutes are more general, permitting applications to be filed by "any person." A court must examine a petition to determine whether the person applying for appointment as guardian really has the child's interest at heart.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationFree Legal Encyclopedia: Good behaviour to Health Insurance - Further ReadingsGuardian and Ward - Persons For Whom A Guardian Is Appointed, Selection Of A Guardian, Factors In Choosing A Guardian