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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
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    7

    Default Guardianship of the Person Versus Financial Guardianship

    My question involves guardianship in the State of: PA and VA.

    Hello. In 2007, my wife and I became legal guardians of a young boy. He is her second cousin. His mother passed away years ago and his father has mental issues that prevent him from having custody. At the time he had a biological grandmother and grandfather. The grandmother had recently been diagnosed with cancer and was denied custody due to that prognosis. My wife and I stepped in so he could return to PA to spend time with his grandparents.

    Both of his grandparents have since passed away. His grandfather passed last year and willed his grandson a portion of his estate. However, the life insurance company refuses to grant this money, because they claim my wife and I cannot "prove" we are his financial guardians.

    I'm very confused, as I would have thought financial guardianship implicit to legal guardianship, unless specified otherwise in a separate arrangement.

    We are of course frustrated, as he had hoped to build a nice fund for him to claim when he turns 18, to use for college or whatever he deems worthy. The insurance company will not explain to us the difference, or how to prove we are financial guardians. The state-appointed lawyer (from Virginia, where the boy resided until we took him) has sent a letter stating that we are his guardians (but not explicitly calling out "financial" guardians) and does not see why this should not move forward.

    My question is, do we have a course of action available to us? Can we somehow apply for financial guardianship? And who would need to approve it? My research suggests his legal guardians...which would be us.

    We were completely unaware that this was regarded as a separate entity, or else we certainly would have done it when we first filed for custody of him. Any guidance or resources would be tremendously appreciated.

    Thank you,

    JDM

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    16,263

    Default Re: Guardianship of the Person Versus Financial Guardianship

    Quote Quoting jdmaley
    View Post
    My question involves guardianship in the State of: PA and VA.

    Hello. In 2007, my wife and I became legal guardians of a young boy. He is her second cousin. His mother passed away years ago and his father has mental issues that prevent him from having custody. At the time he had a biological grandmother and grandfather. The grandmother had recently been diagnosed with cancer and was denied custody due to that prognosis. My wife and I stepped in so he could return to PA to spend time with his grandparents.

    Both of his grandparents have since passed away. His grandfather passed last year and willed his grandson a portion of his estate. However, the life insurance company refuses to grant this money, because they claim my wife and I cannot "prove" we are his financial guardians.

    I'm very confused, as I would have thought financial guardianship implicit to legal guardianship, unless specified otherwise in a separate arrangement.

    We are of course frustrated, as he had hoped to build a nice fund for him to claim when he turns 18, to use for college or whatever he deems worthy. The insurance company will not explain to us the difference, or how to prove we are financial guardians. The state-appointed lawyer (from Virginia, where the boy resided until we took him) has sent a letter stating that we are his guardians (but not explicitly calling out "financial" guardians) and does not see why this should not move forward.

    My question is, do we have a course of action available to us? Can we somehow apply for financial guardianship? And who would need to approve it? My research suggests his legal guardians...which would be us.

    We were completely unaware that this was regarded as a separate entity, or else we certainly would have done it when we first filed for custody of him. Any guidance or resources would be tremendously appreciated.

    Thank you,

    JDM
    I see no reason why you could not file a motion to be named his financial guardians.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
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    7

    Default Re: Guardianship of the Person Versus Financial Guardianship

    Would we need to do that in PA or VA? We currently live in PA but he originally came to us from VA. And thank you for such a fast response.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    16,263

    Default Re: Guardianship of the Person Versus Financial Guardianship

    Quote Quoting jdmaley
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    Would we need to do that in PA or VA? We currently live in PA but he originally came to us from VA. And thank you for such a fast response.
    How long has the child been residing with you in PA? If more than 6 months, then I would definitely try it there.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
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    7

    Default Re: Guardianship of the Person Versus Financial Guardianship

    It's been almost five years. Thank you very much, we will call immediately to get things rolling. I appreciate the advice and assistance.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Guardianship of the Person Versus Financial Guardianship

    If the guardianship order is out of Virginia, the boy no longer has relatives in that state, and is now a long-term, permanent resident of Pennsylvania, perhaps it's time to consider getting a guardianship through the Pennsylvania courts and having Virginia close out its case.

    Depending upon how you became guardian, you may well be simply the guardian of the child's person and not his finances. Unfortunately we have no access to the case file or history. Virginia appears to follow the classic split with a guardian responsible to care for a person's physical well-being and a conservator being responsible for a person's finances. It's possible for a single person to be made both guardian and conservator, but it's possible to serve in one capacity without being appointed to serve in the other.

    If you were appointed conservator, there should be a record of that appointment in the court that granted you the guardianship/conservatorship. If not, you can petition that court to make you the child's conservator (but again, this may be the time to try to move these matters to Pennsylvania - and on the other hand, despite the distances, it may be easier to get the court that is already exercising jurisdiction to grant any necessary order). In Pennsylvania, guardianship matters concerning minors are handled in the family court, and it is appropriate to seek conservatorship for a minor who is inheriting $10,000 or more.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
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    7

    Default Re: Guardianship of the Person Versus Financial Guardianship

    Quote Quoting Mr. Knowitall
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    If the guardianship order is out of Virginia, the boy no longer has relatives in that state, and is now a long-term, permanent resident of Pennsylvania, perhaps it's time to consider getting a guardianship through the Pennsylvania courts and having Virginia close out its case.

    Depending upon how you became guardian, you may well be simply the guardian of the child's person and not his finances. Unfortunately we have no access to the case file or history. Virginia appears to follow the classic split with a guardian responsible to care for a person's physical well-being and a conservator being responsible for a person's finances. It's possible for a single person to be made both guardian and conservator, but it's possible to serve in one capacity without being appointed to serve in the other.

    If you were appointed conservator, there should be a record of that appointment in the court that granted you the guardianship/conservatorship. If not, you can petition that court to make you the child's conservator (but again, this may be the time to try to move these matters to Pennsylvania - and on the other hand, despite the distances, it may be easier to get the court that is already exercising jurisdiction to grant any necessary order). In Pennsylvania, guardianship matters concerning minors are handled in the family court, and it is appropriate to seek conservatorship for a minor who is inheriting $10,000 or more.
    Thank you. Very good information in there, and I think this is our most reasonable course of action. And yes, our son is inheriting more than that amount. We want to make certain it's not lost, so it's there for him when he needs it.

    Thanks again to everyone.

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