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A guardianship is a way to protect the most vulnerable members of a family: an incapacitated adult or minor child. In simple terms, a guardianship is a legal relationship that is created by the courts to protect a vulnerable person, known as the ward, or that person’s property. The named guardian has specified duties and responsibilities designed to meet the needs of the ward.
Commonly, a guardianship is created as part of a Will to assume the care of a minor child (or children) when a parent is no longer available. However, there are also circumstance when an adult is no longer able to care for his or her personal property or well-being. In this latter case, a guardian can be appointed by the courts.As with all legal decisions, it is important to understand the ramifications of a guardianship. Careful planning is crucial in order to protect the ward and to avoid future conflict.