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Types Of Guardianship

There are several types of guardianship. Under a plenary or full guardianship, the guardian is granted comprehensive decision-making authority over an individual's personal care, property, or both. Under a limited guardianship, as its name implies, the guardian is granted only limited and specified powers regarding an individual's personal care or property.

A guardian of the person makes decisions with respect to the ward's personal care. The guardian ordinarily will determine where the ward will live and will arrange for the ward's medical care. The guardian of the property manages the ward's finances. The guardian will disburse funds for the ward's care, will handle the ward's investments, and will determine which assets must be sold.

Guardians are typically appointed for an extended period—until a minor attains the age of majority, or until an adult individual's death or recovery of capacity. Under a temporary or emergency guardianship, however, the guardianship lasts for only a short period of days or months. Because temporary or emergency guardians are appointed for only a short term and often on an emergency basis, the procedures for appointment are usually simpler and more expedited than for a regular, longer-term appointment. Limited and temporary or emergency guardianships are the exception, not the rule, however. The term guardianship, without qualification, usually refers to a plenary or full guardianship.

Guardianship, which requires a proceeding before a court before an appointment may be made, must be distinguished from other uses of the term. It is sometimes said that parents, by virtue of their custodial rights, are the natural guardians of their minor children, although this term is falling into disuse. Also, the role of a guardian is very different from that of a guardian ad litem. A guardian ad litem is an individual, usually an attorney, appointed for the sole purpose of representing another person in a particular court proceeding, such as in a dispute over the validity of a will.

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Marriage and Family EncyclopediaPregnancy & ParenthoodGuardianship - Types Of Guardianship, Guardianship Of Minors, Guardianship Of Adults, Alternatives To Guardianship