An adult can be granted legal guardianship over a person, an estate, or both a person and an estate. There are many different reasons one can have for pursuing guardianship, but all are ultimately rooted in a genuine interest in having someone to watch over, protect, and maintain that person or estate.
Guardianship over Minor Children.
Most guardianships over minor children come about because the parents are, for whatever reason, unable to continue to care for their children. This can be because they have been found legally unfit to raise their children because of criminal activity or child neglect and abuse, because they have traveled somewhere and couldn’t take the children with them, or because they are deceased.
When parents are no longer legally fit, the child either goes into foster care or is taken in by a relative like an aunt, uncle, or grandparent. Once a family member has guardianship of a child and gains child custody, he or she can adopt the child after going through a termination of parental rights proceeding.
Guardianship over Minors and Estates.
If the parents were killed or are absent and have left behind an estate to the child, then the guardianship would be involved in looking over both the child and the estate. The guardian would usually be responsible for the upbringing of the child and for withdrawing payments from the estate as needed for the care and upbringing of the child.