What Does Permanent Legal Guardianship Mean?

Providing care for elderly

For various reasons, permanent legal guardianship can be granted to you. This includes children but also extends to adults. While in the role of a guardian you are responsible for the welfare and wellbeing of that person, known as a “ward” or “protected person”. An example of guardianship is that of children whose parents are unable to care for them such as foster children.

Adult wards can be appointed to you if they are unable to care for themselves. This covers the elderly, those with severe physical or mental disabilities, and those who need long-term care.

This article aims to clarify the following:

  • Why Guardianship Happens
  • Permanent Legal Guardianship
  • Guardianship of a Minor

Guardianship happens where a ward needs care either short-term or long-term. Permanent legal guardianship allows an appointee to deal with the personal care and finances of another adult or a child. Guardianship of a minor places you in charge of their day-to-day care but parental rights are maintained by the parent(s) or adopted caregiver.

If you need advice on permanent legal guardianship, The Law Offices of Thomas Stahl can help.

Why Guardianship Happens

Guardianship is appointed for many reasons and is required for the care of individuals who cannot care for themselves. Such individuals include the infirm, the elderly, the disabled, and children. In the case of adults, a guardian can be appointed to manage their day-to-day care such as hygiene, healthcare, and meals.

As an appointed guardian you have the legal right to make decisions for a protected person. Such decisions include when to eat, how to bathe, and when to spend money. This usually occurs when it has been proven that the ward is either unable to make these decisions for themselves or doesn’t understand the processes involved in decision making. It might also be the case that they are in a position whereby they could be manipulated or abused.

Anyone over the age of 16 can apply for guardianship but courts will often deny filings of non-related people or close friends. In cases where a relative or friends are unwilling then a professional guardian will be appointed.

You don’t need a lawyer to file for permanent legal guardianship. But the amount of paperwork and details required means that you will make mistakes. The forms of permanent legal guardianship are detailed and complex. So a lawyer or legal advice is recommended when filing for guardianship.

A professional law firm can help with all aspects of guardianship and the complex legal matters involved in the process. These include such things as appointing a legal guardian, removing a guardian, or terminating a guardian.

Guardianship of a Minor

Gaining legal guardianship of a minor is done in the same way as for vulnerable adults. If you are appointed as the legal guardian of a child you are responsible for their well being and not the child’s parents. But you will not maintain parental rights and the parents of the child will remain in charge of these. In legal terms, a parent is either biological or adoptive.

This extends to same-sex couples and the LGBTQ+ community. Parental rights include major decisions relating to healthcare, religion, education, and socialization. A court-appointed guardian can override parental rights to the extent allowed by the court.

If you need a guardianship lawyer then don’t hesitate to call The Law Offices of Thomas Stahl.


Guardianship can happen for many reasons and is a means to protect the vulnerable. Such cases include the elderly, disabled, and children. Permanent legal guardianship allows a court-appointed guardian to oversee the sensitive aspects of a protected person’s life. This includes decision making, finances, health, and hygiene.

Anyone can apply for guardianship but priority is usually reserved for family and friends. In cases where this isn’t possible then a professional guardian will be appointed by the court. Each state has different requirements and it is best to seek legal advice before proceeding with guardianship filings.

When gaining legal guardianship of a minor you are granted control of the child’s day-to-day care. This does not include major decisions about the raising of the child such as healthcare, religion, or education. These rights are reserved for biological or adoptive parents.

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