What is a 'Natural Guardian'

A natural guardian is a child’s mother or father, and in a divorce, either or both parents may be granted legal custody with guardian rights. A natural guardian is empowered to make a wide range of decisions for a minor child including medical and financial decisions that legally require a parent or guardian’s consent. In other words, absent divorce, a parent is usually a guardian, but a guardian isn’t always a parent. A non-parent may be appointed guardian via a parent’s will or by a court if a parent is deceased or deemed unable to care for a child.

BREAKING DOWN 'Natural Guardian'

While a natural guardian typically makes day-to-day decisions for a minor child, the appointment of a guardian and/or conservator by a will or court is subject to probate law and terms and rules will vary by state. An adult appointed as guardian of a minor child may also be appointed as conservator (sometimes referred to as guardian of the estate) to be responsible for financial decisions and managing assets the minor child may have through inheritance or earnings. Normally a natural guardian has the legal right to open accounts and manage money for a minor child until the child reaches the age of majority. A court can assign the same responsibilities to a conservator.

When a child with a disability becomes an adult with a disability, his or her parent may need to be appointed by a court as guardian and/or conservator in order to continue making medical, personal and financial decisions that the disabled person is incapable of making.

RELATED TERMS
  1. Guardian

    A guardian is an individual who has been given the legal responsibility ...
  2. Child And Dependent Care Credit

    Child and dependent care credit is a non-refundable tax credit ...
  3. Child Tax Credit

    The child tax credit is a credit given to taxpayers for each ...
  4. Additional Child Tax Credit

    The Additional Child Tax Credit is the refundable portion of ...
  5. Testamentary Will

    A testamentary will is a traditional will. A will is a legal ...
  6. Citizenship Test

    A key criteria test set forth by the IRS, that an individual ...
Related Articles
  1. Retirement

    Designating a minor as an IRA beneficiary

    Leaving an IRA to minors can be a complicated procedure. Make sure you understand how your gift will be distributed, managed and taxed.
  2. Personal Finance

    Taxing Times For Divorced Parents

    Find out how to deal with the tax issues that arise for divorced parents with dependent children.
  3. Retirement

    Social Security Benefits for Dependents

    A child may be eligible to receive part of a parent's Social Security benefits in three ways.
  4. Personal Finance

    8 Financial Planning Tips for Parents

    The financial well-being of your children is just as important their emotional well-being. Here are eight financial issues to consider.
  5. Managing Wealth

    A quick guide to buying a home for your child

    Learn about the common pitfalls around buying a home for your child. It's a generous gift, but there are somethings you should know.
  6. Retirement

    Should Aging Parents and Children Co-Own Assets?

    Many adult children suggest being a joint account owner to handle their aging parents' finances, however, there could be unintended consequences.
  7. Personal Finance

    Savings Strategies for Your Child's Future

    There are several different ways to save for your child’s future without sacrificing your own.
  8. Personal Finance

    If Your Kid Is 18, You Need These Documents

    When your child turns 18, you lose many of your rights as a parent. Here's how to regain them with the proper legal documents.
  9. Managing Wealth

    How Parents Can Help Adult Children Buy a Home

    Owning a home isn't easy thanks to stringent lending standards. Thankfully, there's ways parents can help their kids buy a home.
Trading Center