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What is a Guardian of a Minor?

Produced by Jeff Wolf (Massachusetts Law Reform Institute) with help from Veronica Serrato (Volunteer Lawyers Project)
Reviewed February 2019

What is a guardian of a minor?

A guardian of a minor is a person that has the powers and responsibilities of a parent concerning the child's support, care, education, health, and welfare.  A minor is a child under 18 years old. Guardians must at all times act in the child's best interests.

What are the guardian's duties?

Guardians' duties include:

  • taking custody of the child and provide a place for the child to live
  • being personally acquainted with the child and maintaining enough contact with the child to know his or her abilities, limitations, needs, opportunities, and physical and mental health
  • taking reasonable care of the child's personal property
  • applying any of the money that the minor has available to his or her current needs for support, care, education, and welfare
  • saving any excess money the child may have for his or her future needs

Does a guardian control the child's property?

No.  A guardian does not have power or control over the child's property.  If a child has property that needs to be managed or controlled, the court appoints a conservator.

When does a guardianship of a minor end?

When the minor turns 18.

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