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A guardian is a court-appointed person placed in charge of the care and well-being of a person determined to be in need of legal assistance, and who no longer can take care of their own needs. Adult Guardianships and Child Guardianships are two different proceedings.

A guardian in a Child's Guardianship is appointed to take control over and provide protection for a child and the child's assets. To be a legal guardian of a child is to have a special duty to look out for the child's interests. Guardianships may be used when a parent cannot care for the child, but the parties involved believe that the child's relationship to the parent need not be severed. Guardians are typically given the authority to make child-rearing decisions, such as those concerning education and medical issues.

An adult's guardian is appointed to preserve and protect the interests of adults. These interests may be medical or financial concerns. To establish a guardianship over an adult, the court first must determine the need of the adult for protection, and then determine if the person nominated to serve is an appropriate person, under the standards established by state law.

The duty either type of guardian accepts by their appointment includes a responsibility to regularly report activities to the court, and those close to the protected person (once called the "ward"). The guardian also agrees to act only in the protected person's best interest, and not in the guardian's best interests when those interests differ.

The role of a guardian can be complex, based on the decisions that are needed for the best interests of the protected person, and regular discussion of the duties with your attorney is encouraged.