How To Appoint Different People as Guardian of a Person and Guardian of the Estate

While you may appoint the same person to be the Guardian of the Estate and the Guardian of the Person, you may also choose two different people to be the guardians. The Guardian of the Person is responsible for the child’s well being, while the Guardian of the Estate is responsible for the child’s finances.

In many cases, providing for your child’s well being will require use of your child’s finances, usually in terms of paying the any expenses on the child's behalf. If the guardians are different people, the Guardian of the Person will have to formally request funds from the child’s estate, to be released by the Guardian of the Estate. While this transaction can be easily managed, there are some personal dynamics that should be taken into consideration to ensure that the guardians feel good about their roles.

Reasons for appointing different people as Guardian of the Person and Guardian of the Estate

In some cases, the person who may be best suited to oversee your child's social, emotional, psychological, physical, and educational development (the Guardian of the Person) may not be the person best suited to manage, invest, and distribute your child's finances (the Guardian of the Estate)—and vice versa. In cases where the person you'd like to name may not be suited for both roles, it's a good idea to appoint different people as Guardian of the Person and Guardian of the Estate.

If the child's other natural parent is alive and capable, then he or she will likely serve both roles.

Questions to consider

It may be helpful to consider the way these two guardians will be working together and the existing or future relationship those two people have or will have.

  • Do the two people already have a relationship, or will their relationship be entirely within the context of serving as guardians?
  • If the two people already have a relationship, do they get along and have similar values and a shared vision for how to care for the child?
  • If the two people do not already have a relationship, do you think they would work well together?
  • Would each guardian be able to understand both the authority and the limitations of his or her role, and respect the other’s role?
  • Would the two people be able to communicate well?

Communicating with the guardians

If you are considering appointing different people for each guardianship, you may want to sit down with the two people you’ve chosen and review over the roles and responsibilities of each position to make sure that the people you’ve chosen understand the nature of their potential positions.

To learn more about the duties of a Guardian of the Person, see our article Guardian of the Person.

To learn more about the duties of a Guardian of the Estate, see our article Guardian of the Estate.

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