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Guardianship Encyclopedia

Guardianship Glossary

Most Common Terms Used

Case/Care Management - Geriatric care management is a profession dedicated to assisting elderly people and their families develop plans for long-term care and living arrangements. Care management also involves assessment of needs, coordination, and management of daily and long-term support services.

Custodial Power of Attorney - A Power of Attorney of a minor is used when a child’s parent or legal guardian temporarily appoints another adult to manage affairs for their minor child. A custodial power of attorney is a legal document which gives another person authority to take care of a minor child when hardship or other factors prevent the child’s parent(s) or legal guardian from taking care of the child.

Executor and Administrator - Those who are designated by the terms of a will or appointed by a court of probate to manage the assets and liabilities of the estate of the deceased.

Fiduciary - A fiduciary is a person or institution given the power to act on behalf of another in situations that require great trust, honesty and loyalty. Fiduciaries you may already be familiar with include accountants, attorneys, bankers, business advisors, financial advisors, mortgage brokers and real estate agents. These individuals are hired to act in the best interest of their charge and must set aside their own personal motives in favor of the goals of their charge. See more about fiduciary go to encyclopedia

Group Home - An alternative to traditional in-home foster care for children, in which children are housed in an intimate or home-like setting, in which a number of unrelated children live for varying periods of time with a single set of house parents, or with a rotating staff of trained caregivers. More specialized therapeutic or treatment group homes have specially-trained staff to assist children with emotional and behavioral difficulties. The make-up and staffing of the group home varies according to the needs of its residents.
There are also group homes for other types of residents, such as troubled teens, or physically or mentally disabled adults. They are generally aimed at providing residents with skills needed to become a productive member of society and integrate into successful independent living.

Guardian - In the simplest terms a guardian is a person who is responsible for the care of someone else. The most common example of a guardian is the relationship between a parent and child. Need to know more? Go to Encyclopedia

Guardian of the Estate - Someone appointed by a court to care for the property and finances of a minor child or an incapacitated adult. A guardian of the estate may also be called a property guardian, financial guardian, or conservator of the estate.

Guardian of the Person - Someone appointed by a court to make personal decisions for a minor child or an incapacitated adult, commonly called a ward. Such decisions usually include day-to-day living arrangements, health care, education, and other matters related to the ward's comfort and well-being. A guardian of the person may also be called a personal guardian or conservator of the person.

Guardianship - The management of the affairs of someone who has been judged unable to manage their own affairs. Generally guardianship is ordered by a court on behalf of someone who is called a ward of the court. A guardian assumes the rights of the ward to make decisions about many aspects of daily life and is directed by ethics and statute to make decisions in the best interest of the ward. How is a Guardianship created? Go to Encyclopedia

Living Trust - A living trust, also known as a revocable trust, is an alternative to a will for the distribution of one's assets. During the owner's lifetime, property can be transferred in and out of the trust by the owner. After the owner's death, the trust cannot be revoked and the property owned by the trust is not subject to probate.

Living Wills - A living will (not a living trust) is a properly witnessed written declaration directing the withholding or withdrawal of life prolonging procedures in the event one should have a terminal condition. To state an example, in Florida, the definition of "life prolonging procedures" has been expanded by the legislature to include the provision of food and water to terminally ill patients.
Once the living will has been witnessed and signed, it is the responsibility of the maker to notify his or her physician of its existence. It is an even better idea to provide both the physician and the hospital with copies of the document. A living will may be revoked by its maker at any time.

Nursing home - Facility for care (usually long-term) of patients who are not sick enough to need hospital care but are not able to remain at home. Historically, most residents were elderly or ill or had chronic irreversible and disabling disorders, and medical and nursing care was minimal. Today nursing homes have a more active role in health care, helping patients prepare to live at home or with a family member when possible. They help conserve expensive hospital facilities for the acutely ill and improve the prospects of the chronically disabled.

Personal Representative – A personal representative is one kind of fiduciary—an individual whom another has trusted to manage her property and money. When a person dies, a personal representative generally is required to settle the decedent's financial affairs. See more about Personal Representative in our encyclopedia. (See Representative Payee).

Probate - Probate is a process by which the court establishes that a will is valid. The first step in the probate process is to file the will in the appropriate court with a petition to admit it to probate and to grant letters testamentary to the person designated as executor of the will. Letters testamentary are the formal instruments of authority and appointment given to an executor by the probate court, empowering that person to act as an executor.