Los Angeles Guardianship Lawyer
Frequently asked questions asked by clients about Los Angeles Guardianship and answered by our guardianship attorney in Los Angeles:
When does a Guardianship have to be established?
A Guardianship of the estate is required to be established when a minor inherits assets or is named as a beneficiary of an account. A minor in California is a person under the age of eighteen (18). In the case of the Guardianship of the estate, it is irrelevant that the minor has parents, unless the contract, or the policy, or will of the person leaving the money, allows the parent to receive those funds for the minor. Guardianship of the estate means protection of the estate and by definition, the proceeding is a protective one.
A Guardianship of the person is different in that it is established when there is no parent that can take care of the minor. This type of guardianship is commonly set up by a grandparent.
A Guardianship is generally for a minor. A Guardianship is similar to a conservatorship in that they are both for the protection of a person who is generally not competent to take care of himself or herself. A married minor may have a conservatorship, but those are rare cases. A Guardian is different than a Guardian Ad Litem. A Guardian’s duties last until he or she is discharged by the Court and/or the minor turns 18. A Guadian Ad Litem’s duties are limited to a specific case in court where the minor has an interest.
Who is a Guardian?
A Guardian is a person who is formally appointed by the Court to care for a minor or for the minor’s assets and estate. You cannot become a Guardian in Los Angeles and California without a court order. Our lawyers can help you establish or set up a guardianship. A guardian is the protector of the minor. A minor is referred to as a ward in probate court.
Why does a child need a Guardian when inheriting assets?
In California, the money of the child does not automatically belong to his or her parents. The probate court is there to make sure that the minor’s rights to his or her money is protected. The court in some instances appoints a minor’s counsel to see to it that procedurally, the parents are carrying on their statutory duties towards the funds of the minor.
What does the Guardian need to present to collect the minor child’s money?
When you are trying to collect the funds that belong to a minor child, most banks, insurance companies and other entities will require that you present a document called “Letters of Guardianship” the estate of the minor. Sometimes, people call this a letter for guardianship, but it is actually a court form. Letters of Guardianship is the court form that is mandatory before a minor’s money is released to the claimant.
There are some exceptions to getting Letters of Guardianship of the estate of the minor:
- Where the policy to the account documents provide for a custodian to receive the money and a custodian has been named either by form or by category in the policy.
- When to total assets of the minor do not exceed $5000.00. A parent can collect the assets of the minor if the estate assets are below $5,000.
- Where a parent has been designated as custodian of the minor in the instrument.
- If a minor is close to turning 18 years of age, it is often not economically feasible to file for guardianship. In most cases, the claimant ops to wait till the age of 18 and skips the guardianship entirely.
Is a bond necessary when you create a guardianship of the estate of a minor?
When you enter a guardianship case for the estate, there are only a handful of options on how the court will require protection of the minor. California courts have a bond it or block it rule. This means that if the Guardian wants to access the funds of the minor, it must be bonded. If the Guardian does not care to access the funds of the minor, then no bond will be required, if all of the assets of the Guardianship estate go in a blocked account. A blocked account receipt will be required from the guardian who obtains is from a bank. The downside of a blocked account is that the account can only be at an FDIC insured bank which pays very little interest. You cannot invest the assets in a blocked account, in stocks, bonds, or anything else.
How long does the guardianship stay open in California?
The guardianship of the estate stays open until the child is eighteen years of age. The Guardianship can be terminated by a petition when the child has reached eighteen. On the date of the hearing, the child must have already reached 18, or the court will continue the hearing.
How long does it take to get guardianship in Los Angeles?
A Non-emergency guardianship can take 6-8 weeks in Los Angeles to establish. An emergency guardianship can be set up within 10 days to a month.
Do you need a lawyer for guardianships in Los Angeles?
Yes. if you are going to be bonded, most sureties require that you have an attorney, if you are appointed as a guardian of the estate. If you are only the guardian of the person, you do not necessarily need an attorney. It is always good to ask guardianship advice from an attorney who is well-versed in the practice of Guardianship.
What are some examples of Guardianship assets of a minor?
- Proceeds from an inheritance through a will.
- Proceeds from a life insurance policy.
- Proceeds from an IRA account.
- Proceeds from an annuity.
- CALSTRS benefits.
- PERS benefits.
- LACERA benefits.
What can go wrong in a guardianship proceeding?
When a parent becomes a guardian, sometimes the parent things that he or she can use the money of the guardianship for support of the child. Parents are warned that the court requires the parent to support the child first out of the parent’s funds. Be cautioned not to use the money of the child without written directions from your guardianship lawyer.
We are experts in Guardianship Law. When you have questions to ask a Los Angeles Guardianship lawyer, look to our attorneys and lawyers for answers. Call Mina Sirkin, Guardianship Attorney Los Angeles at 818.340.4479.