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Understanding key factors of guardianship

If a parent should pass away, there should be instructions regarding who will take care of his or her children. Many parents may count on their spouses being able to take over. However, it is important to have a plan in place in the chance that a spouse passes or is otherwise unable to care for the child.

One of the most effective ways to establish guardianship is in an estate plan. When making this designation there are a few key factors to keep in mind.


In the state of North Carolina, there are three types of guardianship:

  1. General guardian
  2. Guardian of a minor
  3. Guardian of a minor estate

The general guardian oversees both the physical and financial well-being of the child, while the other two handle one or the other. In the latter case, parents may designate separate guardians for the different tasks. Along with a primary guardian, parents may select a standby guardian to care for the child in the case that the primary guardian is unable to for any reason.


The government strives to guard children, and therefore have certain measures in place to protect their well-being. Statute 35A-1224 states the guardianship criteria in the state of North Carolina. It is important to understand and follow these stipulations, otherwise, the court may overrule the parents’ appointment for guardianship. 


There are a few reasons why the court may restrict guardianship or remove a child from a guardian. Some of the common reasons include:

  • Improper care of the child
  • Poor management of minor estate
  • Financial hardship
  • Incompetency
  • Moving out of state
  • Proof of false claims during appointment

These are just a few of the possible reasons the court may remove a child. In short, if the court views being with the guardian as harmful to the child’s well-being, they may remove the child or otherwise intervene.

It is very important for parents to select their children’s guardians carefully. They should take some time to examine the criteria and weigh their options so that they may make the best possible choice.