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Thousands of children in California need legal guardians because their parents have died, abandoned them or are otherwise unable to care for them. The Guardianship Book for California provides the step-by-step instructions caring adults need to obtain a legal guardianship — without a lawyer. Learn how to: decide whether to obtain a legal guardianship find out if you are eligible to enroll a minor in school and make medical decisions without becoming a legal guardian use alternate forms if a legal guardianship is ...
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Thousands of children in California need legal guardians because their parents have died, abandoned them or are otherwise unable to care for them. The Guardianship Book for California provides the step-by-step instructions caring adults need to obtain a legal guardianship — without a lawyer. Learn how to: decide whether to obtain a legal guardianship find out if you are eligible to enroll a minor in school and make medical decisions without becoming a legal guardian use alternate forms if a legal guardianship is not practical obtain a guardianship for finances or for personal and physical care of a minor, or both prepare, file and have guardianship papers served appear before a judge obtain a temporary guardianship in an urgent situation deal with institutions and agencies — with or without a guardianship — schools, medical facilities, insurance companies, public assistance agencies and more end a guardianship The 7th edition is completely updated with the latest laws, and includes all the necessary forms and instructions for becoming a legal guardian in California.
What Is a Guardianship?
- If anyone objects to (contests) the guardianship, or if anyone tries to have you removed
after you are named guardian. These are unusual occurrences, but sometimes they do happen.
- If you are seeking a guardianship to manage substantial assets inherited by a minor -- usually $5,000 or more. Although we provide all the information and forms to obtain the guardianship, we do not give step-by-step instructions on how to manage the minor's assets, arrange to have the estate appraised, prepare and file a required Inventory and Appraisement, or prepare and file periodic accountings with the court in future years. Normally the help of a legal professional and perhaps an accountant is in order here -- and this help can be paid for
out of the minor's estate. (See Chapter 10.)
- If you want to become guardian of a minor who lives in California, but you live in another state, you'll need help from a lawyer.
- If there are any unresolved legal proceedings affecting the minor, you'll need to talk to
a lawyer. This includes adoption, divorce, custody, juvenile charges against the minor, or other proceedings that have not been finally settled by a court.
- If you want to become guardian of a minor who is physically or emotionally disabled, such as a minor on leave from the California Department of Mental Health or the State Department of Developmental Services, an attorney's help is advisable, to determine whether the minor can be
protected by additional means such as establishing a "special needs trust."
- If you want to become guardian of a minor who is "gravely disabled" because of a mental disorder or chronic alcoholism, a special type of mental health conservatorship must be established -- and a lawyer will have to help you with that.
- If the minor is a Native American (American Indian), the case will be subject to special federal laws. In this area, you will need the help of an attorney.
When Fred is five years old, his mother is unable to take care of him because of personal problems, and Fred's father is dead. Fred's Aunt Ethel wants to take care of him but she is financially strapped. Aunt Ethel applies for welfare, but is told that in her county she must become Fred's legal guardian before benefits will be paid. As the welfare agency in her county does not require guardianship of the estate, Aunt Ethel obtains a guardianship of Fred's
person, which enables her to receive Fred's benefits. The county requires that she keep records of how money is spent on Fred's behalf, but the record-keeping requirement is minimal.
Jaime is 15 when his mother, Ellen, decides to go into the military. She discovers that they will not accept her if she has custody of her son. Jaime's father is in jail and has never supported or visited his son. Ellen asks her parents to take care of Jaime while she is in the service, which will probably be at least three years. To deal with the military's "no custody" rule and because it's a good idea anyway, she asks her parents to become Jaime's legal guardians. They obtain guardianship of Jaime's person. (In some cases, the caregivers' affidavit will be accepted by the military instead of a court guardianship. Check with your local JAG officer.)