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DUTIES OF GUARDIAN
When you are appointed by the court as a guardian of a minor, you become an officer of the court and assume certain
duties and obligations. An attorney is best qualified to advise you about these matters. You should clearly understand the
information on this form. You will find additional information in the Guardianship Pamphlet (for Guardianships of Children
in the Probate Court) (Form GC-205), which is available from the court.
1. GUARDIANSHIP OF THE PERSON
If the probate court appoints you as a guardian of the person for a child, you will be required to assume important
duties and obligations.
a. Fundamental responsibilities - The guardian of the person of a child has the care, custody, and control of
the child. As guardian, you are responsible for providing for food, clothing, shelter, education, and all the
medical and dental needs of the child. You must provide for the safety, protection, and physical and emotional
growth of the child.
Custody - As guardian of the person of the child, you have full legal and physical custody of the child and are
responsible for all decisions relating to the child. The child's parents can no longer make decisions for the
child while there is a guardianship. The parents' rights are suspended—not terminated—as long as a guardian
is appointed for a minor.
Education - As guardian of the person of the child, you are responsible for the child's education. You
determine where the child should attend school. As the child's advocate within the school system, you should
attend conferences and play an active role in the child's education. For younger children, you may want to
consider enrolling the child in Head Start or other similar programs. For older children, you should consider
their future educational needs such as college or a specialized school. You must assist the child in obtaining
services if the child has special educational needs. You should help the child in setting and attaining his or her
educational goals.
Residence - As guardian, you have the right to determine where the child lives. The child will normally live
with you, but when it is necessary, you are allowed to make other arrangements if it is in the best interest of
the child. You should obtain court approval before placing the child back with his or her parents.
As guardian, you do not have the right to change the child's residence to a place outside of California unless
you first receive the court's permission. If the court grants permission, California law requires that you
establish legal guardianship in the state where the child will be living. Individual states have different rules
regarding guardianships. You should seek additional information about guardianships in the state where you
want the child to live.
DUTIES OF GUARDIAN
(Probate)
ATTORNEY OR PARTY WITHOUT ATTORNEY (Name, state bar number, and address):
FOR COURT USE ONLY
SUPERIOR COURT OF CALIFORNIA, COUNTY OF
STREET ADDRESS:
MAILING ADDRESS:
CITY AND ZIP CODE:
BRANCH NAME:
GUARDIANSHIP OF THE
CASE NUMBER:
DUTIES OF GUARDIAN
and Acknowledgment of Receipt
GC-248
MINOR
PERSON ESTATE
OF (Name):
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Form Adopted for Mandatory Use
Judicial Council of California
GC-248 [New January 1, 2001]
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GUARDIAN OF (Name): CASE NUMBER:
MINOR
e. Medical treatment - As guardian, you are responsible for meeting the medical needs of the child. In most
cases, you have the authority to consent to the child's medical treatment. However, if the child is 14 years or
older, surgery may not be performed on the child unless either (1) both the child and the guardian consent or
(2) a court order is obtained that specifically authorizes the surgery. This holds true except in emergencies. A
guardian may not place a child involuntarily in a mental health treatment facility under a probate guardianship.
A mental health conservatorship proceeding is required for such an involuntary commitment. However, the
guardian may secure counseling and other necessary mental health services for the child. The law also
allows older and more mature children to consent to their own treatment in certain situations such as
outpatient mental health treatment, medical care related to pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases, and
drug and alcohol treatment.
f. Community resources - There are agencies in each county that may be helpful in meeting the specific
needs of children who come from conflicted, troubled, or deprived environments. If the child has special
needs, you must strive to meet those needs or secure appropriate services.
g. Financial support - Even when the child has a guardian, the parents are still obligated to financially support
the child. The guardian may take action to obtain child support. The child may also be eligible for Temporary
Aid for Needy Families, TANF (formerly known as AFDC), social security benefits, Veterans Administration
benefits, Indian child welfare benefits, and other public or private funds.
h. Visitation - The court may require that you allow visitation or contact between the child and his or her
parents. The child's needs often require that the parent-child relationship be maintained, within reason.
However, the court may place restrictions on the visits, such as the requirement of supervision. The court
may also impose other conditions in the child's best interest.
Driver's license - As guardian of the person, you have the authority to consent to the minor's application for
a driver's license. If you consent, you will become liable for any civil damages that may result if the minor
causes an accident. The law requires that anyone signing the DMV application obtain insurance to cover the
minor.
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Enlistment in the armed services - The guardian may consent to a minor's enlistment in the armed
services. If the minor enters into active duty with the armed forces, the minor becomes emancipated under
California law.
Marriage - For the minor to marry, the guardian and the court must give permission. If the minor enters a
valid marriage, the minor becomes emancipated under California law.
Change of address - A guardian must notify the court in writing of any change in the address of either the
child or the guardian. This includes any changes that result from the child's leaving the guardian's home or
returning to the parent's home. You must always obtain court permission before you move the child to
another state or country.
Court visitors and status reports - Some counties have a program in which ''court visitors'' track and review
guardianships. If your county has such a program, you will be expected to cooperate with all requests of the
court visitor. As guardian, you may also be required to fill out and file status reports. In all counties, you must
cooperate with the court and court investigators.
Misconduct of the child - A guardian, like a parent, is liable for the harm and damages caused by the willful
misconduct of a child. There are special rules concerning harm caused by the use of a firearm. If you are
concerned about your possible liability, you should consult an attorney.
Additional responsibilities - The court may place other conditions on the guardianship or additional duties
upon you, as guardian. For example, the court may require the guardian to complete counseling or parenting
classes, to obtain specific services for the child, or to follow a scheduled visitation plan between the child and
the child's parents or relatives. As guardian, you must follow all court orders.
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p. Termination of guardianship of the person - A guardianship of the person automatically ends when the
child reaches the age of 18, is adopted, marries, is emancipated by court order, enters into active military duty,
or dies. If none of these events has occurred, the child, a parent, or the guardian may petition the court for
termination of guardianship. But it must be shown that the guardianship is no longer necessary or that
termination of the guardianship is in the child's best interest.
2. GUARDIANSHIP OF THE ESTATE
If the court appoints you as guardian of the child's estate, you will have additional duties and obligations. The
money and other assets of the child are called the child's ''estate."' Appointment as guardian of a child's estate
is taken very seriously by the court. The guardian of the estate is required to manage the child's funds, collect
and make an inventory of the assets, keep accurate financial records, and regularly file financial accountings
with the court.
MANAGING THE ESTATE
Prudent investments - As guardian of the estate, you must manage the child's assets with the care of a
prudent person dealing with someone else's property. This means that you must be cautious and may not
make speculative or risky investments.
Keeping estate assets separate - As guardian of the estate, you must keep the money and property of the
child's estate separate from everyone else's, including your own. When you open a bank account for the
estate, the account name must indicate that it is a guardianship account and not your personal account. You
should use the child's social security number when opening estate accounts. You should never deposit estate
funds in your personal account or otherwise mix them with your own funds or anyone else's funds, even for
brief periods. Securities in the estate must be held in a name that shows that they are estate property and not
your personal property.
Interest-bearing accounts and other investments - Except for checking accounts intended for ordinary
expenses, you should place estate funds in interest-bearing accounts. You may deposit estate funds in
insured accounts in federally insured financial institutions, but you should not put more than $100,000 in any
single institution. You should consult with an attorney before making other kinds of investments.
d. Blocked accounts - A blocked account is an account with a financial institution in which money is placed. No
person may withdraw funds from a blocked account without the court's permission. Depending on the amount
and character of the child's property, the guardian may elect or the court may require that estate assets be
placed in a blocked account. As guardian of the estate, you must follow the directions of the court and the
procedures required to deposit funds in this type of account. The use of a blocked account is a safeguard and
may save the estate the cost of a bond.
Other restrictions - As guardian of the estate, you will have many other restrictions on your authority to deal
with estate assets. Without prior court order, you may not pay fees to yourself or your attorney. You may not
make a gift of estate assets to anyone. You may not borrow money from the estate. As guardian, you may not
use estate funds to purchase real property without a prior court order. If you do not obtain the court's
permission to spend estate funds, you may be compelled to reimburse the estate from your own personal
funds and may be removed as guardian. You should consult with an attorney concerning the legal
requirements relating to sales, leases, mortgages, and investment of estate property. If the child of whose
estate you are the guardian has a living parent or if that child receives assets or is entitled to support from
another source, you must obtain court approval before using guardianship assets for the child's support,
maintenance, or education. You must file a petition or include a request for approval in the original petition,
and set forth which exceptional circumstances justify any use of guardianship assets for the child's support.
The court will ordinarily grant such a petition for only a limited period of time, usually not to exceed one year,
and only for specific and limited purposes.
INVENTORY OF ESTATE PROPERTY
f. Locate the estate's property - As guardian of the estate, you must locate, take possession of, and protect
the child's income and assets that will be administered in the estate. You must change the ownership of all
assets into the guardianship estate's name. For real estate, you should record a copy of your Letters of
Guardianship with the county recorder in each county where the child owns real property.
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g. Determine the value of the property - As guardian of the estate, you must arrange to have a court-appointed
referee determine the value of the estate property unless the appointment is waived by the court. You—not the
referee—must determine the value of certain ''cash items.'' An attorney can advise you about how to do this.
File an inventory and appraisal - As guardian of the estate, you must file an inventory and appraisal within
90 days after your appointment. You may be required to return to court 90 days after your appointment as
guardian of the estate to ensure that you have properly filed the inventory and appraisal.
INSURANCE
Insurance coverage - As guardian of the estate, you should make sure that there is appropriate and sufficient
insurance covering the assets and risks of the estate. You should maintain the insurance in force throughout
the entire period of the guardianship or until the insured asset is sold.
RECORD KEEPING AND ACCOUNTING
Records - As guardian of the estate, you must keep complete, accurate records of each financial transaction
affecting the estate. The checkbook for the guardianship checking account is essential for keeping records of
income and expenditures. You should also keep receipts for all purchases. Record keeping is critical because
you will have to prepare an accounting of all money and property that you have received, what you have
spent, the date of each transaction, and its purpose. You will also have to be able to describe in detail what is
left after you have paid the estate's expenses.
Accountings - As guardian of the estate, you must file a petition requesting that the court review and approve
your accounting one year after your appointment and at least every two years after that. The court may ask
that you justify some or all expenditures. You should have receipts and other documents available for the
court's review, if requested. If you do not file your accounting as required, the court will order you to do so. You
may be removed as guardian for failure to file an accounting.
Format - As guardian of the estate, you must comply with all state and local rules when filing your accounting.
A particular format is specified in the Probate Code, which you must follow when you present your account to
the court. You should check local rules for any special local requirements.
Legal advice - An attorney can advise you and help you prepare your inventories, accountings, and petitions
to the court. If you have questions, you should consult with an attorney.
3. OTHER GENERAL INFORMATION
Removal of a guardian - A guardian may be removed for specific reasons or when it is in the child's best
interest. A guardian may be removed either on the court's own motion or by a petition filed by the child, a
relative of the child, or any other interested person. If necessary, the court may appoint a successor guardian,
or the court may return the child to a parent if that is found to be in the child's best interest.
Legal documents - For your appointment as guardian to be valid, the Order Appointing Guardian of Minor
must be signed. Once the court signs the order, the guardian must go to the clerk's office, where Letters of
Guardianship will be issued. Letters of Guardianship is a legal document that provides proof that you have
been appointed and are serving as the guardian of a minor. You should obtain several certified copies of the
Letters from the clerk. These legal documents will be of assistance to you in the performance of your duties,
such as enrolling the child in school, obtaining medical care, and taking care of estate business.
Attorneys and legal resources - If you have an attorney, the attorney will advise you on your duties and
responsibilities, the limits of your authority, the rights of the child, and your dealings with the court. If you have
legal questions, you should consult with your attorney. Please remember that the court staff cannot
give you legal advice.
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GC-248 [New January 1, 2001 ]
DUTIES OF GUARDIAN
(Probate)
GUARDIAN OF (Name): CASE NUMBER:
MINOR
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GUARDIAN OF (Name): CASE NUMBER:
MINOR
If you are not represented by an attorney, you may obtain answers to your questions by contacting
community resources, private publications, or your local law library.
NOTICE: This statement of duties is a summary and is not a complete statement of the law. Your conduct
as a probate guardian is governed by the law itself and not by this summary.
ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF RECEIPT
I acknowledge that I have received a copy of this statement of the duties of the position of guardian.
I have petitioned the court to be appointed as a guardian.1.
2.
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GC-248 [New January 1, 2001 ]
DUTIES OF GUARDIAN
(Probate)
Date:
(TYPE OR PRINT NAME) (SIGNATURE OF PETITIONER)
Date:
(TYPE OR PRINT NAME)
Date:
(TYPE OR PRINT NAME)
(SIGNATURE OF PETITIONER)
(SIGNATURE OF PETITIONER)
GC-248
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