What is a Guardianship?
Midland Trust Company’s court supervised trust team specializes in administering guardianships and other court supervised trusts for minors or disabled adults receiving proceeds from a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit. In order to protect and preserve a ward’s assets the Court may appoint a corporate fiduciary as guardian of the property.
A guardianship of the estate is established by a court for minors or disabled adults that cannot legally manage their finances. The court appoints a Guardian of the Estate that is responsible for all financial and legal matters of the ward. Upon appointment of a guardian of an estate, the court usually requires inventories, budgets, and accountings for the financial estate of the ward. In all types of guardianships, the process does not end with the appointment of the guardian. The process closely links the guardian with the courts which retain control and oversight over the guardianship situation.
BASIC DUTIES OF A GUARDIAN OF THE ESTATE
The guardian of the estate is responsible for managing the property, finances, and legal affairs of the ward. At a minimum, the guardian is required to:
- Establish a monthly budget.
- Determine overall cash flow needs and living expenses.
- Pay all bills and ongoing expenses.
- Coordinate medical insurance payments.
- Pay ongoing medical expenses.
- Prepare annual court accountings.
- Prepare state and federal income tax returns.
- Invest and manage all assets, including real estate.
- Investigate and pursue all available public benefits (e.g., Social Security, Medicaid).
- Safeguard the ward’s personal property and maintain insurance coverage if appropriate.
- Apply the ward’s assets to the comfort, care and education of the ward.
- Respond to any legal matters concerning the ward and be sure that he or she is represented in any court proceedings.
LIMITATIONS ON THE GUARDIAN OF THE ESTATE
As guardian of the estate, there are certain things that cannot be done without specific permission from the court. A petition must be filed with the court before doing any of the following:
- Transfer or sell any of the ward’s personal property or real estate.
- Mortgage the ward’s real estate or take out any other loans on the ward’s behalf.
- Make any gifts from the ward’s estate, even if the ward gives you permission.
- Expend any large sums of the ward’s money for unusual or extraordinary expenses, such as the purchase of a new home or automobile.
This is provided for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice.