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What Is a Legal Guardian?


A minor is someone who is considered to be below the age of majority, which is usually set at 18 to 21 years old depending upon the country. When a person is considered a minor, he or she is considered by the state as not being mature on a psychological, social, emotional, and physical level. Thus, he or she may need an adult to take care of him or her. This adult is commonly referred to as a legal guardian.


A legal guardian is appointed by a court when it has been deemed necessary that a person take care of another person, whether a minor or an elderly person, in terms of physical, social, emotional, and financial security. A court appoints a legal guardian based on a criteria or standard. However, it is assumed and accepted that the legal guardians of children are their parents. This may not be the case if a court of law renders judgment that the parents are unfit to take care of the children. It is also possible for persons to indicate whom they choose as their legal guardian in preparing for unexpected events.


The duties of a legal guardian vary from person to person, but generally include ensuring that the physical, emotional, and financial welfare of the person being taken care of is secure. Specific duties include managing the financial accounts, providing housing, and ensuring access to education and other benefits. However, a legal guardianship may be terminated if the period set by the court ends, a minor child is granted emancipation, or a new legal guardian is appointed.

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