Probate Guardianship of the Person and Estate

Experienced Solano County Guardianship Attorneys

A guardianship is a serious legal matter, and can be complicated to handle without an attorney.  The Law Offices of Russo & Prince offers experienced legal representation in probate guardianship proceedings, whether in establishing a guardianship of a child, or representing parents who oppose the appointment of a guardian.  Our experienced attorneys look out for the best interests of children and families -- and keep abreast of all relevant legal developments in this complicated area of the law.

Russo & Prince handles numerous contested guardianship actions, bringing expertise and credibility to our guardianship practice.  Our extensive experience, training, compassion, and dedication to our guardianship clients help us to guide them through the court system during a difficult time.  Contact us today to learn about your rights and how the attorneys at Law Offices of Russo & Prince can do to help.

California Guardianship Law

What does it mean to be a legal guardian? 

A guardian is appointed by a court to provide for the safety, care and well-being of a minor child when the parents cannot. This may occur due to death, imprisonment, or physical or mental incapacity of a parent.  Common reasons for appointment of a guardian include untreated drug or alcohol abuse, child abuse or neglect, abandonment, untreated mental illness, or in cases where a parent has been ruled unfit in a juvenile dependency hearing.

We are often asked to pursue a "guardianship" for a disabled or impaired adult.  A "guardianship" only protects children.  A legal action to protect an impaired or disabled adult is called a conservatorship.  As with a guardianship, a conservatorship may be obtained for the protection of the person or the estate, or both.  In addition, if you are a legal guardian of a minor who turns 18 and continues to require full time care, you will need to file for a conservatorship.  The guardianship is not effective once the child is no longer a minor.  

Do I need a guardianship of the estate? 

The court can appoint a guardian of the person as well as a guardian of the estate. A guardian of the person is responsible for the child's safety and well-being, and has both physical and legal custody.  This means the guardian has the authority to make decisions regarding the child's schooling, religious upbringing and medical care.

A guardian of the estate is responsible for managing the child's finances until the child turns 18. A guardian of the estate is usually only appointed if the child receives more than $5,000 or has substantial assets (commonly from inheritance). The court may appoint the same person who is the personal guardian to also be the guardian of the estate, or a professional money manager, bank or other financial institution may be appointed.

Who should petition for guardianship?

If you are a grandparent, aunt or uncle, or other concerned family member or friend, or you have been caring for the child(ren) for a substantial period of time, you have a special interest in seeing that this child in need is well-taken care of in a loving, safe and supportive environment. The court will evaluate the child's best interest in determining whether to approve the petition for guardianship, based on the evidence placed before it.

Will I lose if the parents are not physically abusive to the child?

No.  Physical abuse is one reason why a court might find that a guardian is appropriate, but it is not the only reason.  One of the most frequent reasons for a permanent guardianship is the fact that the parents have voluntarily left the child in another's care for many years - and the child now has a strong attachment to his or her home and caretaker.  Often this is coupled with an inability by the parents to take care of the child, but not always.

What can an attorney do for me? 

If you are petitioning for the appointment of a guardian, our attorneys will work with you to build a strong case, and ensure that your court documents are properly prepared.  We will advise you of your rights, and the likely outcome at each stage in your proceedings.  Finally, we will help you to convince the court that the appointment of a guardian is in a child's best interest.  If you are a fit parent who is contesting a guardianship, we can also assist you in proving to the court that a guardianship of your child is inappropriate under the facts of your case, and that the child's best interests are served by remaining in your care.

Contact the Law Offices of Russo & Prince to learn more about how we can help with your Solano, Contra Costa or Napa County probate guardianship case.