Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Guardian of the Estate Definition:

A person who is appointed to manage the property and financial affairs of an incapable individual.

Related Terms: Guardianship

A guardian of the estate has all the financial powers and authorities of the person for whom he or she is guardian including the right to sue or defend a claim at law, the right to enforce and enter into contract, and the right to buy, sell or otherwise manage assets, all on behalf of the person of unsound mind. In many ways, a guardian of the estate functions as if he or she had an unlimited power of attorney from the unsound person.

Every adult has, theoretically, two entities to manage at law: their person, and their assets. When a person is not able to manage their affairs or their person (these usually develops concurrently), a court steps in and appoints a guardian of each.

The court order literally refers to the person and the estate of the insane or the patient, for want of politically-correct terms.

Usually, but not always and not necessarily, the guardian of the person is also appointed guardian of the estate. Consider the sudden brain injury of an adult in circumstances where a sister who has recently gone bankrupt but who is otherwise an excellent caregiver, and a brother, who lives hundreds of miles away but is a chartered accountant, both apply for a court order to be guardians of the person and of the estate of the brain injured sibling. In such a case, the court might appoint the sister guardian of the person of the brain injured sister, and the brother, guardian of the estate of the brain injured sister.

Similarly, when two parents separate with a child who is, for example, a wealthy child actor, the court might give guardianship of the eatate to that parent most likely to best nurture the child under all the circumstances, and grant guardianship of the estate to the other parent if she or he is best placed and capable of managing the son's assets.



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