A Guardian is someone appointed to be responsible for a minor. Typically, if one parent dies or is unable to care of a minor child, then the other parent assumes sole responsibility. If both parents die or if neither parent is able to care for the minor child, it may be necessary to appoint a Guardian. 

Typically, a Guardian must be appointed or confirmed by a court. In considering who to appoint as Guardian, courts look at the best interests of the minor, but generally give significant weight to the preferences of the parents of the minor in nominating a Guardian.  

The responsibilities of a Guardian generally fall into two major categories:

Physical custody and care (Guardian of the Person)

Management of financial affairs (Guardian of the Estate)

The Guardian of the Person (some states use other terms) may be responsible for the physical care and custody of the minor, including clothing, feeding, and caring for the minor. A Guardian of the Person may also be responsible for making personal decisions for the minor, including decisions related to healthcare, education, and residency.  

The Guardian of the Estate or Property (some states use other terms) may be responsible for managing the financial affairs of the minor. A Guardian of the Estate may be responsible for receiving, holding, and managing assets that would otherwise be payable directly to the minor. A Guardian of the Estate would hold any such assets in a fiduciary capacity to be used for for the benefit of the minor.  These funds could be used to cover the expenses of life, ranging from clothing and food to education and housing. 

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