There are two types of Guardianships, Guardianship of a Minor and Guardianship of a Disabled individual. Both may require a type of surety bond called either Minor Guardianship Bond or Disabled Guardianship Bond.
Minor Guardianship Bond
A court appointed guardian is needed in some instances for a minor or incapacitated adult. When a minor receives an inheritance or reaches a settlement, the guardian needs a bond to protect the minor’s assets. Minor settlements can be heard either in civil or probate court. If it is settled in probate court, the minor must be present for the judge to give a proper settlement amount. The bond must be 1.5 times the settlement unless it is a structured settlement. If it is a structured settlement then only the minimum bond of $1,000 is needed. If only one parent is the guardian, the other parent must be notified, and/or submit a waiver form. It is recommended that the lawyer goes to the bank to open the account in the minor’s name with the guardian. When the guardian opens the account themselves, the higher the risk that the funds get misplaced. After the account is open, vouchers may be presented to the court with all withdrawals subject to further order of court.
Disabled Guardianship Bond
The bond must be 1.5 times the personal property. When you receive the court date, present the summons for the guardian disabled to the sheriff’s office. A GAL will then be appointed by the judge to file a third party report to determine whether a guardianship needs to take place along with a licensed physician’s report. In order to file, present a cover sheet, three copies of the petition with exhibit A, and Order Appointing Guardian, Summons for Appointment of Guardian of Disabled, Order Appointing Guardian Ad Litem for Alleged Disabled Person (filled out to the best of your ability).
Below are five common mistakes made by Guardians
- They commingle the minor’s/ disabled adult’s assets with their own. Many times the guardian will mix their own money with those belonging to the minor or adult with the disability. They also may compensate themselves for their own services provided to the adult which is also not allowed.
- They sell, loan, or give away personal property such as a car or jewelry which is not allowed without a court order. They also may not sell any real estate without a court order as well. This mistake is common since a decedent’s estate doesn’t require a specific order from the court to sell real estate while a disabled/ minor’s case does.
- They do not send an annual report to the court. They have a duty to annually account to the court for all expenditures and income of the adult or minor.
- They do not apply to the Social Security Administration, Veteran’s Affairs or any specific pension provider on behalf of the disabled adult. This must be done in order to receive income for the disabled adult. The guardian is likely to be removed as representative if these applications are not submitted.
- They do not file a bond and/or do not file a bond that is 1.5 times the amount of the personal estate. They also must ensure that any premium is paid in a timely manner.
Disclaimer: This information is intended to help individuals understand surety bonds, but it should not be construed as legal advice. As with any public policy, there are a number of issues that the law and rules do not address, and law is always subject to change and interpretation. Madden & Bergstrom cannot offer legal advice or offer advisory opinions.