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In the event one or both parents in a California family are unable to care for their child, perhaps due to death, injury or incarceration, it may be necessary to appoint a guardian to look after the child. In cases of probate guardianship, when a person approaches a court to ask for a guardianship appointment, you can expect the state of California to offer two different forms of guardianship. Each of these forms carries distinct responsibilities and can serve different needs.

First, there is the guardianship of the person. Under this form of guardianship, a guardian is basically a de facto parent, with all the responsibilities of custody and care expected of a parent. These include providing shelter, clothing and food for the child, dental and medical care, making sure the child is educated, and also anything related to keeping the child safe and protected.

There can also be circumstances where a child comes into a lot of money or a valuable piece of real estate but is not ready to spend or manage it yet. Money, or other assets, and property all consist of a person’s estate. However, a child may be too young to take control of complex wealth and assets. In this situation, a court-appointed guardian of the estate can be placed in charge of the child’s estate, to manage the money and/or property until the child becomes of age to claim it. A guardian of the estate can consist of a living parent or someone else.

Sometimes a child may end up inheriting a lot of wealth but also lack one or both parents. If this should happen, a court may appoint a guardian that has powers over the child’s upbringing and the estate. Ultimately, the goal of a California guardianship is to make sure the child is raised in a secure and loving home, and can include someone the child knows and trusts like a relative.

Since guardianship needs take many forms, be aware that this article is not giving you any legal advice and is only written for your educational benefit.