The word guardian in the context of estate planning can mean one of two things. The most common is the person you nominate in your will to take over the day-to-day activities of raising your child(ren) if both parents die. The guardian functions as the parent until the child reaches age 18. Deciding on who should be the guardian seems to be the main reason parents of young children do NOT complete an estate plan because they cannot reach a decision. Do not let this choice throw you off. The last thing a child needs who has lost both parents it ambiguity or a fight over who will step in to raise them. If you need guidance on how to reach a decision, check out a previous blog entry I wrote.
Guardian can also refer to a court appointed person who is in charge of an individual's health and or financial matters. This person would be appointed by a judge as part of a guardianship proceeding, which occurs when there is no power of attorney for health care and or finance for the individual. To be concise, guardianship is avoided when a person creates a power of attorney stating who should handle health and or financial matters if they are too sick to do so.
Thanks for reading, a remember, a blog is not a substitute for legal advice. It is always wise to consult an attorney in your state about your situation.