What Is a Guardianship Form?

A guardianship form is an official document declaring a person’s legal right to care for another person or property. It states that the ward, or the person who is under the care of the guardian, is entitled to receive support and care by the legal guardian. 

According to the American Geriatrics Society’s Health in Aging Foundation, there are two types of guardianships. The first one is known as a limited guardianship, or also sometimes called conservatorship, which allows the legal guardian authority over a specific area that the ward is unable to manage. This normally includes finances and health care. The second type is an unlimited guardianship, also called a committeeship. This kind of guardianship strips the ward of any legal authority and gives the guardian the power to make all major decisions on behalf of the ward. These decisions include medical care, property, assets, personal relationships, and residence. However, many states favor limited guardianships over unlimited guardianships because the latter demands that the court finds that the person is legally incapacitated and incompetent. In order to assume unlimited guardianship, it would need to be established in court that the person be deemed as totally incapable of all types of decision making.     

Brief History of Guardianship 

It takes a village to raise a child. This proverb cannot be more accurate. According to the National Center for Child Welfare Excellence, the idea of guardianship dates as far back as the early Roman Empire. The parents of a child possessed the natural right and responsibility over the child. Further, extended members of the family were also expected to support other members, including children. During the European Middle Ages, English common law designated the father as a child’s legal guardian. Upon the father’s death, the child would be turned over to the mother. Or in some cases where the mother owned no property, sometimes the feudal or land lord was made the guardian. The courts in feudal times had vested interests in the child, including the land and property that the child possibly inherited. Thus, the courts would normally step in and appoint suitable guardians.       

Types of Guardianship

Typically, a guardian is closest kin or a trusted relative. But there are some cases wherein a  guardian is appointed by the state or court. The following are the basic types of guardianships:

For a Child or Minor: Children are typically unable to support themselves or their needs have to be provided by an adult. A child rightfully looks to the parents or an adult for guidance and support. This not only applies to physical and financial support, such as providing a home and food. But a guardian is responsible for the overall well-being of the ward under his or her care. This includes the emotional, mental, and developmental needs of the child. There are cases where a parent or parents are not in the position to look after a child. Either the parents die or are not in the right psychological state to provide care. If they are unwilling to provide the minor with security and support, then they are deemed unfit to care for a child. The state can then intervene when the child’s safety and well-being is compromised. One common reason for this could be that a parent or both parents are incarcerated, or are undergoing treatment for personal problems such as addiction. For an Elderly Person: When an elderly person is suffering from a degenerative disease, he or she is more likely to require constant care. An old man with Alzheimer’s disease or a grandmother suffering from dementia are unable to fend for themselves and their condition may render them unable to make emotionally and mentally sound decisions. Many patients in a nursing or elderly home are placed there because they require special care and assistance in their old age. If a guardian is appointed to look after the elderly person, he or she is required to make the important decisions regarding health care, and other areas where it concerns the ward’s safety and welfare. For a Disabled Adult or Child: There are some cases where an adult is not necessarily incapacitated due to advanced age, but may be physically handicapped or developmentally and intellectually disabled. A guardian might be required to ensure the right support is given to the adult. The same goes for a minor with learning disabilities, or cannot function properly without assisted help. If the parent is either unable or unwilling to care for them, the state may assign the child a legal guardian. For an Estate: If for any reason, an individual is unable to oversee his or her property and assets, an estate owner may choose to transfer responsibility and entrust the care to a legal guardian. The guardian will then be in charge of security, upkeep, repairs, and other maintenance needs of the property.Hybrid of Person and Property: If a child’s parents suddenly die, the child may inherit a house or any type of property or possession from the deceased parent. In cases such as these, the legal guardian is mandated not only to care for the orphan but the assets or estate that was inherited. Another scenario could involve a son who may choose to appoint a guardian to look after his bedridden mother, in addition to the house she owns and resides in.

Parts of a Guardianship Form

There several basic parts of a guardianship form. Although it may hold multiple versions and differ in format, they all essentially contain the same main points, which include the following:  

Basic Information of the Ward: A guardianship form should always state the basic information of the minor, adult, or property. Be sure to include the complete name, address and other relevant information asked by the state. If there is more than one minor to look after, list all their names with complete details such as age and dates of birth. Terms and Conditions: A guardianship form is a legal form and should therefore specify the scope of the guardianship. Once a minor turns 18, he or she may no longer need the guardian’s protection and tutelage. Indicate the duration and length of care and custody. In the case of an elderly person who may be wheelchair-bound, make sure to include any special instructions and indicate the type of care that is needed. The guardian is an authorized person who is legally recognized by the state to execute and make important decisions on behalf of the ward. For a minor, the guardian is in charge of his education; and therefore expected to decide on what school the child is to attend. For a disabled adult, the legally appointed guardian would have to oversee and ensure that the right care is applied (e.g., health facilities, regular therapy, medications, etc.). Basic Details of the Guardian: Apart from the name and signature of the legal guardian, it is important to also include the complete address, contact information, and other necessary details the state may require. Be sure to indicate the relationship to the ward, when filling out the form as well. Oath: In some guardianship forms, a brief declaration statement is inserted. It states that the guardian is mandated to perform the duties and obligations that are awarded to him. The oath reinforces the responsibility of the guardian to provide the needs of the ward under his or her care. Witness Line and Notary: Because it is an official legal document, the state can require the form to be duly signed by a witness or witnesses. A guardianship form must be notarized by a recognized notary public to further certify the authenticity of the document. Supporting Documents: Much like an appendix, a court may require supplementary documents in addition to the basic guardianship form. This could include birth certificates, doctor’s notes, other medical documentation, or files pertaining to a child’s school performance (e.g., educational assessment forms, information sheets, attendance records).

How to Create a Guardianship Form

There are a number of editable templates for you to use. It’s fairly easy to create a guardianship form if you have a standard guide to follow. As long as you prepare the necessary information, you don’t need to worry about starting from scratch. Standard legal guardianship forms are usually straightforward. Just keep in mind these simple steps: 

Step 1: Decide On a Format

Although forms may vary from county to county, many government agencies have standard forms that only require the petitioner to fill it up and attach the necessary supporting documents. A guardianship document can also come in the form of a letter. These are for instances wherein a parent is officially handing over temporary responsibility to a court appointed guardian.   

Step 2: Fill In the Necessary Details 

Make sure you provide complete information of both the ward and guardian. Include the complete name, complete address, and contact information. Indicate the guardian’s relationship with the ward. Specify the type of support and care needed. If, for example, the minor requires special medical or emotional treatment, it is best to disclose and enumerate these needs. Or if the mentally handicapped adult is undergoing regular therapy sessions, you may need to indicate these details in your form as well.      

Step 3: Include a Declaration Statement 

Some guardianship forms contain an oath declaring that all the facts stated are true. It reinforces the guardian’s duty of providing care and support to the ward; for the length of time as stipulated in the document. Some courts issue only temporary guardianship over a ward. While others, such as in the case of estate guardianship, may last longer.    

Step 4: Attach Any Supporting Documents

This is optional, but sometimes authorities require other substantial documents in order to verify information. It is best to have these properly filed and ready, in case the need arises.  


Because state requirements may vary, it is best to check first with your local government or county to clarify what the required documents are in order to apply for legal guardianship.

What does guardianship entail?

Being someone’s legal guardian entails a lot of responsibility. Not only are you mandated by law to provide security and stability to the child or adult, but you need to look after their health and overall welfare. If you are a guardian of an elderly person with a terminal illness, you need to oversee the treatment and ensure the person gets the proper care. You can also be the state appointed guardian of a minor. This would entail providing the basic needs of the child such as security, nutrition, education, financial, and emotional support.

Can a guardianship be revoked?

In some cases, yes. An outside party can petition a court to reverse a guardianship agreement. If the guardian is accused of neglect and/or abuse of authority, their legal right over the ward may be revoked by the state- if there is sufficient evidence to support the claim.

Why is guardianship necessary?

For obvious reasons, orphans whose parents are no longer alive, must have a guardian they can turn to for support and security. In other cases, not everyone has a supportive parent or kin that can be relied upon to willingly provide comfort and care. Having a guardian addresses this gap and hopefully, gives the ward the necessary stability and guidance he or she needs.

What is the difference between guardianship and conservatorship?

Both terms are often interchanged; but strictly speaking, a conservatorship is generally confined to the area of finances and property. A conservator may be placed in charge of a person’s income and business affairs, because the person is temporarily incapacitated. Whereas, a legal guardianship covers several areas of care including finances, health, residence, and other major aspects of an adult or child’s life.

Who determines guardianship?

Generally, a guardian is appointed by a parent to care for his or her child. If this is not applicable, the closest kin or any relative will usually assume the responsibility of legal guardian. A minor’s godparent, aunt, grandmother, or even close family friend can take on the role. In the absence of any close relative or family member, the state may intervene and assign a court appointed legal guardian to a minor, elderly person, or disabled adult.

Being a guardian is an important role. To assume the role of primary care giver and provider has its challenges. A person is mainly dependent on you and looks to you for support and answers. If supporting yourself is already difficult, having people under your care may prove to be an even greater challenge. You need to be able to regulate not only your own needs and well-being, but also be able to manage someone else’s welfare too. Browse any of the guardianship samples above and create your form today!