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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.
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)