What is a Legal Guardian?
November 9, 2016
The biological parents of a child for various reasons may not be a child’s legal guardian, and a court can assign guardianship to another person. Guardianship is a legal process. It also happens when an adult is no longer able to make reasonable decisions. Guardianship is a serious decision as it removes legal rights that the adult currently holds.
With children, anyone who cares about the well-being of a child can be the guardian by order of the court. The court takes into account the best interests of the child. These guardians take care of the child’s needs, and apart from providing them with a roof over their head, medical care and education, the guardian also manages the finances of the child.
When you become a legal guardian, it is a legal relationship. The guardian has certain rights regarding the child as well as obligations. These guardianships don’t cut legal relationships between the child and the biological parents – the parents and the legal guardian work together. Guardians can also ask the court to relieve them of the guardianship, and then the court chooses and appoints a new guardian.
Legal Guardian Could Be a Court-Appointed Representative
A legal guardian is a court-appointed representative who represents the minor during court proceedings for instance. That is common in disputes regarding estates where the court determines that the minor can’t represent him- or herself. Close relatives are usually the guardians, but attorneys can also be used.
It’s not always plain sailing becoming a guardian. Filing for guardianship could create disputes. The child’s biological parents, if they are still alive, may even object and make the guardianship process extremely difficult.
Nomination regarding a Will
The natural guardians of a child will nominate someone to act as a guardian regarding a Will. If both parents die without having appointed a guardian in their Will, the children are most times looked after by a relative. These persons are by law not guardians unless they have been specifically appointed as guardians by the High Court.
In South African Law there is endless case law on guardianship of minor children. Throughout the years, though, the court always follows ‘the best interests of the child’.
There are many decisions to make when planning a funeral, and if the deceased appointed someone to make choices regarding their funeral, then good and well. If the deceased didn’t appoint anyone, then it’s for the nearest about make the decisions. If the next of kin is a child and incapable of making arrangements, the legal guardian will stand in for the child.
Access to Solid Legal Information
Leaving behind minor children is something worth considering because the consequences of not making guardianship plans can be devastating.
Those who give some time to contemplating guardianship will experience peace of mind in the event of death. Legal City is a premier online legal services portal in South Africa, and you can get help making important statutory decisions from them. To access their services, you will need first to register.
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All info was correct at time of publishing