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Are there different kinds of guardianship?

When you’re deciding on guardianship for your children, you may need to make decisions based on the kind of guardianship you want for them.

Minors, for example, may need full guardianship, which gives a guardian full legal responsibility for someone’s financial and legal affairs. Joint guardianship might be beneficial for minors or adult children with disabilities since there is more than one person sharing guardianship authority and responsibilities. In some cases, you’ll want to set up limited guardianship. For instance, a disabled adult may need some help with finances but be otherwise capable of making their own decisions.

Understanding the different kinds of guardianship is important. In your estate plan, you may want to assign several guardians, so that there will always be at least one who can take over the responsibility of raising your children if you pass away. Designating multiple guardians doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll all share the responsibility. It can also mean that you choose the person you’d prefer to have as a guardian and then several others who could take on the role if the first or second choice cannot.

Your attorney can talk to you more about the different kinds of guardianship you can set up so that you choose the right one for your situation. Not everyone needs the same kind of guardians, so it’s smart to be more specific. Our site has more information on guardianship and what you should do if you would like to appoint a guardian to care for you, your children or other dependants in an emergency situation or after your death.