Monday, May 19, 2008

Appointment of Guardians

A guardian was often appointed for a minor child following the death of the father, providing, of course, the father left assets sufficient to support the child. There were other occasions, too, when a guardian was appointed.

If a minor child had inherited money or property, a guardian might be appointed to conserve that property until the child reached the age of 21 years. The father was often appointed guardian is such cases, especially if the inherited property had come from a grandparent or other relative.

If the father planned an extended stay away from home, especially in the case of a war, a guardian might be appointed for the duration of the father’s absence.

An underage minor orphan wishing to marry commonly chose a guardian to give permission for the marriage license to be issued. The guardian was often chosen the same day as the marriage.

A guardian might be appointed to represent the interests of a non resident child owning property in the county.

A guardian ad litem is often appointed by the court in which a particular litigation is pending. The guardian’s duty is to represent the minor person in that particular litigation only.

The county court appointed guardians for minors under the age of 14 years. Once the minor reached age 14, he could choose his own guardian. The guardian’s responsibilities included keeping records of expenditures paid or collected on behalf of the minor. An accounting would be necessary when the guardian’s term of service ended or in the event the child died.

Guardian appointments are recorded in the county court order books [court minutes] and in a separate guardian appointment bond book. Be sure to check both books as there may be more information in one than another.

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