Guardianship is a legal relationship in which someone (the guardian) is authorized by the clerk of superior court to be substitute decision maker for another (the ward). - North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services
A huge part of estate planning for many families involves planning for minors. If you have minor children, it is imperative that you plan ahead for their care. A guardian has the duty to manage any money or assets you leave to your children on behalf of your children and in their best interest. If you don't name a guardian in your will, the court will determine who gets custody of your children. This is usually a relative. By naming a guardian, you control who will be responsible for your children's finances if you pass away while they are still minors.
Guardianship also comes into play if you take care of an elderly relative such as a parent. If they depend on you for making their important decisions, you should name someone to take care of them if you pass away while they are still in your care.
The clerk may appoint a guardian of the person, a guardian of the estate, or a general guardian. The specific powers and duties that a guardian may be given can be found in North Carolina General Statutes, Chapter 35A.
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