Legal Guardianship creates a relationship between an adult and a child that is not as extensive as adoption, but enables the adult to have the right to make certain types of decisions with regard to the child.

The need for guardianship may arise from your child inheriting an asset. An example of this would be the situation of a grandparent designating a minor grandchild as the beneficiary of a life insurance policy or retirement account. Guardianship may be necessary even if you are the parent and also the person who will manage the money inherited by your child. This situation can be avoided with proper planning, and is a good reason to talk about inheritance with your family members.

There are many other situations in which an adult other than a parent may need temporary or permanent authority to make certain decisions about a child. Non-parent caregivers may need guardianship for educational purposes, to seek medical treatment for a child, or to travel with a child.