Everything you need to know about guardianship, guardianship and legal dependents


The term “conservatorship” suddenly made the news this year because of the singer Britney spears. But whether you’ve read up on the topic because of the news or tried to understand it for personal reasons, the legal jargon can be confusing. What makes it even more complicated is the fact that guardianship, and other similar legal terms, can be different depending on the laws where you live.

Here is the difference between tutorship, curatorship and legal dependents in simple lingo, as well as resources to learn more.

Guardianship against guardianship

These two terms mean different things in different states. However, both are legal proceedings that make one person (the guardian or curator) responsible for the affairs of another person (the ward).

Often times, a guardianship involves a ward who is a minor, and a guardianship involves a ward who is an adult. But sometimes guardianship refers to authority over the day-to-day decisions of a neighborhood, while guardianship refers to control over decisions of a neighborhood. financial choices. You can find out how your state defines these terms through the American Bar Association Adult Guardian Manuals by State.

Guardianship of a minor

The worst scenarios are hard to imagine. We never want to imagine leaving our children behind. But if you have minor children, it is in their best interests to designate a legal guardian in your will. That way, if you were to die unexpectedly (and no other legal guardian, such as another parent, was alive), then your children would be in the loving care of the trusted person you have appointed. . Otherwise, a court would be left to decide on custody of your children.

If you are the caring adult of a minor in need of guardianship, you can file a lawsuit to become the child’s legal guardian. Each state has its own procedures and deposit forms. People apply for guardianship for a variety of reasons. Examples include, in the event of abandonment, when the child’s parents have consented to guardianship, or when parental rights have been terminated.

Conservatory of an adult

Conservatories are intended for when an adult is incapacitated at some level and cannot make their own informed decisions about medical care, money or daily life. Reasons for guardianship can include when an adult has dementia, has had a stroke, or has a serious mental illness or disability.

If you think you have a loved one who is in need of guardianship, you should consult a lawyer to help you choose the right type and complete the appropriate paperwork. A lawyer can also provide legal advice on alternative solutions if possible, such as a durable power of attorney.

The American College of Trust and Estate Council (ACTEC) has a list of options for advanced planning with your loved ones to avoid guardianship on the road. Some alternatives may be more favorable to guardianship because they allow the individual to make choices about care and finances before becoming potentially incapable.

Only a court can grant guardianship after hearing evidence that an adult is incapable National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA). If someone has filed a petition requesting guardianship for you, you have the right to an attorney, whether it is someone you hire or someone appointed by the court. A lawyer can help you oppose the request for curatorship or even take steps to have you choose your own curator if necessary.

Legal dependents

The term “legal dependent” can also refer to a few different concepts. For tax purposes, a legal dependent is a eligible child or parent than a taxpayer claims on their taxes. An eligible child must be under 19 or under 24 if a full-time student. An eligible child can also be any age if they are considered permanently disabled.

An eligible parent can be any age and does not have to live with you. For example, if you have a parent whose gross income is quite low and you provide that parent with more than 50% of their total support for the tax year, you can potentially claim them as a dependent on your taxes. Their income must be less than the designated threshold amount. For the 2020 tax year, the threshold was $ 4,300.

Declaring an eligible adult parent as a legal dependent on your taxes can be beneficial in reducing your tax burden (through deductions and tax credits) or in adding a parent to your health insurance policy.

In some cases, legal dependent is a term used to describe someone who relies on another for support. And the designation can be used to enforce this aid, as in the case of child support payments.

The bottom line

Even with a better understanding of the differences between guardianship, guardianship, and legal dependents, these situations can be tricky. Consult a lawyer or a CPA to help. They are trained to navigate the complex paperwork, offer alternative solutions if necessary, and make sure everything is handled to the letter. This way you can focus on your loved ones.


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