A "guardian of the estate" is appointed by the probate court after legal counsel files the appropriate petition. There are a number of situations that can result in the final decision to appoint a guardian, such as:
- A minor inheriting significant assets. A small child whose parents die in a common accident cannot manage the assets he or she has inherited. In this case, a legally appointed guardian, under close supervision by the court, is responsible for ongoing financial management.
- A child receiving proceeds resulting from a personal injury lawsuit or the wrongful death of a parent or other family member.
- Appointment in the case of an adult who is adjudged physically or emotionally unable to handle financial affairs.
A guardian assumes a number of important responsibilities. Prompt collection and careful investment of assets belonging to the estate must be carried out in accordance with rules contained in the probate laws of the state, including:
- Prudent management of estate assets
- Preparation and filing of annual state and federal income tax returns
- Periodic reporting to the probate court