Once the court appoints me as Guardian of the Estate, what are my duties?
Within 90 days after being appointed guardian, you must file financial reports with the court, including an inventory and appraisal signed by a referee showing the value of the assets in the estate. You must:
Collect and make a list of all the child's property and find, get, and protect all money and property that are part of the estate; then
Put all property in the estate's name; and,
Record copies of the Letters of Guardianship (form GC- 250) with the County Recorder in every county where the child owns real property (land, houses or buildings)
How do I know the value of the child's property?
First, get a court-appointed referee, called a "probate referee," who will figure out how much the property was worth when you were appointed.
You must do this unless the court specifically tells you not to.
You, not the probate referee, have to figure out the value or worth of certain "cash items."
How do I manage the child's estate?
Keep all the child's money and property separate from everyone else's money, including your own money. Unless there is a court order, a guardian cannot:
pay him or herself or his or her lawyer;
give away any part of the estate;
borrow money from the estate; or
spend the estate's money.
If the child has a parent who is still alive, or the child gets money or can get support from elsewhere, then you need the court's permission to use the estate money to pay for the child's support, maintenance, or education.
You can file a petition explaining why you need to use the estate's money to support the child. Generally, the court will give you permission to use the minor's money for less than a year and for specific things.
Keep complete and accurate financial records, including records of every transaction that has to do with the estate. Write down all of the money that comes in and all money that goes out, and keep receipts for everything you buy using estate money.
Get and/or keep insurance coverage on the child's property.
Prepare a report, called an "accounting" of:
all money collected and all interest earned,
all money you spent and for what,
the date of every transaction,
the purpose of every transaction, and
what is left after the estate's expenses are paid.
Do I need to stay in touch with the court?
Yes. If you are a Guardian of the child's Estate, you must file an accounting 1 year after you become guardian. After that, you must file a report ever 2 years, unless:
The estate is worth less than $7,000 and there is less than $1,000 per month income from non-public assistance sources.
All guardianship funds are in blocked accounts
If you don't file the accounting, the court could order you to do so or could remove you as the guardian.
What is a blocked account?
A blocked account is when a bank, brokerage firm or other financial institution says no withdrawals can be made without a court order. Often, an account will stay blocked until the child turns 18.
Fishel & Fishel, Attorneys at Law is a Law firm serving the Contra Costa County are including the Northern California East Bay communities of Alameda, Albany, Antioch, Benicia, Berkeley, Brentwood, Byron, Castro valley, Claremont, Concord, Danville, Dublin, El Cerrito, El Sobrante, Emeryville, Fairfield, Fremont, Hayward, Hercules, Lafayette, Livermore, Martinez, Montclair, Moraga, Oakland, Oakley, Orinda, Piedmont, Pinole, Pittsburg, Pleasant Hill, Pleasanton, Point Richmond, San Leandro, San Pablo, San Ramon, Union City, Vacaville, Vallejo, Walnut Creek. We have over 18 years experience in the practice of Family Law covering Child Custody, Juvenile Law, Divorce, Dissolution, Personal Injury, Criminal Defense.