Understanding the Key Responsibilities of a Guardian

Legal guardianship typically arises in cases which revolve around a person with a disability or a child that does not have a suitable parent. In either of these cases, a guardian is appointed and, while this can be an extremely rewarding experience, it is also fraught with responsibilities of which every guardian must be fully cognizant. Generally speaking, the guardian takes the ward under their custody and becomes responsible for providing for all of the ward’s needs.

A chief responsibility of a guardian is to provide for the protection and care of the ward. This includes, but is not limited to, providing living arrangements, food, and clothes. Additionally, the guardian is responsible for the emotional and spiritual care of the ward which includes making provisions for recreation, personal care, and transportation. In the case of minor wards, the guardian takes on the responsibilities and the duties of a parent. They must arrange for the schooling of the ward and they have the authority to sign consent forms for the child which may be needed for school or participation in various activities.

The guardian is required to stay in contact with the ward and to be able to maintain sufficient knowledge about the ward to be cognizant of his or her abilities, needs, and capacities. This includes being aware of the wards physical and mental health, and they must be able to make arrangements for care when necessary. When possible the guardian should encourage the ward to participate in making decisions and the guardian should always consider the ward’s personal beliefs and desires when making a decision.

It may be necessary for the guardian to find a conservator to manage the ward’s financial affairs and possibly apply for public benefits themselves if the ward does not have a conservator. The guardian should never deposit any of the ward’s money into their own account. Similarly, the guardian may not move the ward out of the state of Colorado without obtaining a court order, and the court needs to be notified immediately of any change of address.

It is important for the guardian to maintain records regarding interactions with the ward including time spent with one another, medical reports, income, and housing expenses. These records could be requested at any time by the court or other interested parties and may have implications on compensation and taxes. An annual Guardian’s Report is also required and must be provided to the court by the assigned date.

These are just a few of the key responsibilities of guardianship in the state of Colorado. If you have any questions regarding guardianship be sure to contact Hulbert & Associates to get answers and guidance you need from our experienced and knowledgeable team of attorneys.

Written by Lori Hulbert

Together the attorneys of the firm have nearly 30 years of experience in the fields of estate planning, estate and trust administration, estate and trust litigation, guardianships and conservatorships and civil litigation.