Due to age, illness or other factors, you may take on the management of the money and property of a loved one who is unable to make financial decisions for themselves. To gain the legal authority to provide this type of assistance to your family member, you may seek to be named as a guardian of the property. But, what does that mean and what are your responsibilities in this role?
According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, as a guardian of the property, you are a fiduciary. As such, you have a responsibility to your loved one to act only in his or her best interests. In making decisions regarding the management of your family member’s money, you should be acting only for your loved one’s benefit, and not for your own.
As a financial caregiver, it is important to keep your money and property separate from that of the person for whom you were named a guardian of the property. Even if you may eventually inherit from your family member’s estate, you must keep in mind that the money and property are not yours. Failing to meet the standards of acting as a fiduciary could have serious legal repercussions.
In addition to the duty you owe to the loved one for whom you were named a guardian of the property, you also have a responsibility to the court. In this role, you are effectively an agent of the court. Therefore, you must be prepared to answer any questions the court may have, as well as provide regular accountings of your actions.
This post contains information intended for general uses only and should not be considered legal guidance.