What Is the Financial Responsibility of a Legal Guardian?

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A legal guardian is a person who has been legally appointed to care for the personal and/or financial interests of another person. Typically, a guardian is the parent of a child, but that isn't true in all cases. Someone becomes a legal guardian because another person is unable to care for his own interests. This is usually because of age or disability.

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Financial Responsibility for a Child/Teen

A legal guardian's most important role is to maximize the quality of life for the individual. The guardian's financial responsibilities are usually laid out in court when she is appointed. For a child or teen-ager, a legal guardian's typical responsibilities include, but are not limited to, clothing, shelter, nourishment, education and insurance.

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Financial Responsibility for an Adult

An adult who has a legal guardian usually has a disability. As a legal guardian for an adult, the financial responsibilities are not as much about out-of-pocket costs, as they are for a child, but more about purchasing and selling for the individual. An adult who has a home but needs 24-hour care has to be advised the importance of selling the house and moving elsewhere. As long as the adult can afford something, it is the guardian's responsibility to make arrangements for that something to happen, such as relocation or a vacation. The one exception to this rule is if the decision has negative consequences due to personal well-being.

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Communication

It is the guardian's important responsibility to inform the person of the guardian's legal duties and responsibilities. A legal guardian must discuss financial transactions with the person, as well as with, from time to time, that person's family members and friends who stay in close contact. A guardian must also foster communication with family, friends and/or people providing personal care.

A Will

A legal guardian must make efforts to determine if the incapacitated person has a will. The guardian must also help to make sure the will is carried out and necessary arrangements are taken care of, such as those regarding property. If a house is supposed to be a gift, the guardian must make sure the house is kept in possession. If the house must be sold due to financial instability or relocation, the guardian needs to make sure the will is adjusted for better suture.

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Debts

All debts remain a person's debts, unless a legal guardian incurs them on the person's behalf. This rule applies only if the guardian agrees in advance, such as a co-signer; if another legal transaction exists, such as claiming that person as a dependent; the guardian is negligent; or the guardian acted beyond his legal responsibility to get the debt.

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