As a parent, you may designate a guardian for your minor children in your will to ensure their care in the event of a sudden death. A guardian can also be appointed for an estate to manage a minors’ assets. Parents may serve as guardians if the will, insurance policy, or contract naming the child as a beneficiary also specifies the parents can control the money for the child. Otherwise, parents may want to consider appointing a guardian with expertise in financial matters for their child.

The duties of a guardian in Tustin can be complex, so it is important to consult with an attorney to go over any questions you have. A dedicated guardianship lawyer could guide you through the legal process.

Guardian of the Estate’s Duties

Guardians of an estate must exert care in managing the minor’s assets and act only in the child’s interests. Guardians may not use the child’s money for their own benefit and must keep it separate from their own money.

Guardians also have a duty to keep detailed accounts for the court showing how and why a child’s money is spent. A skilled attorney could assist with creating and maintaining this list of transactions.

Collecting a Minor’s Money as a Guardian

Once a guardian is appointed, the California probate court provides them with Letters of Guardianship. These letters are presented to banks and insurance companies to release assets to the guardian of the estate. Some exceptions to the letters apply, including:

  • California law permits parents to collect payouts to minors if the payout is less than $5,000
  • The annuity or insurance policy names a person that will receive the payout for the minor
  • The annuity or insurance policy names one or both parents to collect the child’s funds
  • Waiting for the child to turn 18 if they are about to, allowing them to collect the payout as an adult

Understanding the duties of a guardian is crucial to avoiding legal and financial issues. For example, parents who are guardians cannot use their child’s money to support the family, because the money is solely for the child’s benefit. A Tustin attorney could explain guardianship in more detail and help ensure all relevant laws are followed.

The “Bond It or Block It” Rule

Guardians for a minor’s estate must be bonded to access the assets under California’s bond it or block it rule. No bond is required when assets are held in a blocked account and a guardian chooses not to access it, but the guardian in this situation needs a blocked account receipt issued by an official from an FDIC-insured bank.

Guardians cannot access money or manage a child’s stocks and bonds if the assets are held in a blocked account. Most sureties in Tustin require guardians who are planning to be bonded to work with an attorney.

An Attorney Could Help You Fulfill the Duties of a Guardian in Tustin

Guardians of an estate must safeguard minors’ assets. These assets could be left to them in a will, or minors could be beneficiaries of insurance policies or annuities. Some state benefits are also controlled by guardians for minors. A guardian’s duties include one with extremely high standards, the fiduciary duty, in which the guardian must act only in the minor’s best interests.

Our attorneys could help you manage your complex duties as a guardian of an estate. You must keep a detailed record of expenditures for the court, and you may want to become bonded. We also help parents set up guardianships if their children are beneficiaries of any type of asset. For more information about the duties of a guardian in Tustin, call us now.

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Amity Law Group, LLP

Amity Law Group, LLP