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Guardian and Ward

Manner And Length Of Appointment

Once a guardian is selected, he or she can be required to take an oath of office before performing the duties of guardian. Statutes generally require a guardian to post a bond, that is, pay the court a sum of money out of which a ward can be reimbursed if the guardian fails to perform the duties faithfully. These laws also permit the court to waive this requirement if the ward's property is of relatively little value or if the guardian managing the property is a financial corporation, such as a bank or a trust company.

The formal appointment of a guardian is completed when the court issues the guardian a certificate called letters of guardianship. The naming of a guardian in a parent's will is only a nomination. The court must issue the letters of guardianship before a guardian has the legal authority to act.

Generally, a guardian's authority continues as long as the ward is below the legal age of majority. If the ward marries before reaching the age of majority, guardianship of the person ends. Under the law of some states, guardianship of the property continues until he or she reaches the age of majority. For an adult ward, guardianship ends when a court determines the ward no longer needs supervision.

A guardian can be divested of authority whenever a court is convinced that he or she has neglected the duties of guardian or mismanaged property. In some cases, courts have ordered partial removal. For example, a father who has squandered money that should have remained in his children's bank accounts can continue to have personal guardianship of them, while someone else acts as guardian of their property.

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