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A person lawfully invested with the power, and charged with the obligation, of taking care of and managing the property and rights of a person who, because of age, understanding, or self-control, is considered incapable of administering his or her own affairs.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


n. a person who has been appointed by a judge to take care of a minor child (called a "ward") or incompetent adult personally and/or manage that person's affairs. To become a guardian either the party intending to be the guardian or another family member, a close friend or a local official responsible for the child's welfare will petition the court to appoint the guardian. In the case of a minor, the guardianship remains under court supervision until the child reaches 18. Naming someone in a will as guardian of one's child in case of the death of the parent is merely a nomination. The judge does not have to honor that request, although he/she usually does. Sadly enough, often a parent must petition to become the guardian of his/her child's "estate" if the child inherits or receives a gift of substantial assets, including the situation in which a parent gives his/her own child an interest in real property or stocks. Therefore, that type of gift should be avoided, and a trust created instead. While the term "guardian" also may refer to someone who is appointed to care of and/or handle the affairs of a person who is incompetent or incapable of administering his/her affairs, this is more often called a "conservator" under a conservatorship. (See: conservator, ward)

Copyright © 1981-2005 by Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T. Hill. All Right reserved.


a person who looks after the interests of an infant and is entitled to exercise parental rights over it and who is required to discharge parental responsibilities in respect of it. While still alive, parents are a child's natural guardians; they may appoint guardians to look after the child after their deaths.
Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006
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