There are different types of guardianships for different situations.
Guardianship of the Person and/or Estate:
When a Court finds an individual to be legally incapacitated, they must also find whether that legal incapacity exists as it relates to their person, or if it also encompasses their estate.
A Guardian of the Person is responsible for the care and maintenance and personal needs of an incapacitated person.
A Guardian of the Estate is responsible for all financial matters of an incapacitated person. This person is also in charge of preserving, protecting, and maintaining the assets of the estate.
Guardianship of a Minor Child:
A parent is always the natural guardian of the person of a minor. Therefore a guardian of the person of a minor is only necessary when the minor's parents are deceased or unable to care for the minor. It is important for parents to have a Declaration of Guardian included their estate plan becasue it names the individual who will be the guardian of the children in the event of their incapacity.
Also, a guardianship of a minor child becomes necessary if that minor child is entitled to receive any assets under a Last Will and Testament or if they were designated as a beneficiary on a life insurance policy or IRA, etc. In Texas, a guardian of the estate is necessary because a minor child cannot legally own any real property or be entitled to receive any assets.
Guardianship of an Adult:
A guardianship of an adult will become necessary if the adult is incapacitated and unable to provide for themselves or manage their financial assets. A guardianship of the person is also necessary when an individual attains the age of eighteen (18) and suffers from mental retardation.
Guardians for incapacitated adults will have the responsibility of making health care decisions and/or financial decisions. Generally, the guardian will be required to report to the Probate Court regularly.
Having knowledge about the different types of guardianships can help you make the right decisions for your loved ones.