A guardian is put in place by the court to handle the legal and financial handlings of a minor or an incapacitated adult. In many situations, close family members of friends become guardians, although in some situations it might be a neutral and specially trained individual. Guardianships generally continue until a minor child turns 18 or the incapacitated adult dies. If a guardian chooses to relinquish the role, then the court must appoint another person.
When Is a Guardian Necessary?
A guardian is necessary for minors whose parents are dead, incarcerated, incapacitated or otherwise deemed unable to perform parental duties. In adults, a guardianship comes into play when the person is incapacitated and cannot handle making the decisions necessary to sign over power of attorney. Situations in which this might happen include:
- Mental health disorders
- Developmental disorders
- Severe illness
- Coma or vegetative state
- Dementia or Alzheimer’s disease
A power of attorney fulfills the same purpose. However, in order to assign a power of attorney, a person must have their capacities. If a person becomes incapacitated prior to signing a power of attorney, then the court must assign someone to act on his or her behalf as a guardian.
Guardianship Or Conservatorship: What Is the Difference?
A similar designation is known as a conservator. The difference is that a conservator handles finances while a guardian manages other decisions, including decisions about living situations and medical procedures. A guardian might have some control over finances, but usually just over daily expenditures. If an estate’s value is more than $24,000 per year, then a conservator might be appointed. A guardian and a conservator might be the same person or could be two individuals.
As a guardian, you might need to apply for a Tax ID for yourself or your ward, especially if the estate is in a trust. At IRS EIN Tax ID Filing Service, we assist you with IRS-Ein-Tax-ID services. Contact us to learn more about how to apply for an EIN.