Business, Legal & Accounting Glossary

Definition: Guardian

Quick Summary of Guardian

An adult who has been given the legal right by a court to control and care for a minor or her property. Someone who looks after a child’s property is called a “guardian of the estate.” An adult who has legal authority to make personal decisions for the child, including responsibility for his physical, medical and educational needs, is called a “guardian of the person.” Sometimes just one person will be named to take care of all these tasks. An individual appointed by a court to look after an incapacitated adult may also be known as a guardian, but is more frequently called a conservator.

What is the dictionary definition of Guardian?

Dictionary Definition

n. a person who has been appointed by a judge to take care of a minor child or incompetent adult (both called “ward”) personally and/or manage that person’s affairs. To become a guardian of a child either the party intending to be the guardian or another family member, a close friend or a local official responsible for a minor’s welfare will petition the court to appoint the guardian. In the case of a minor, the guardianship remains under court supervision until the child reaches majority at 18. Naming someone in a will as guardian of one’s child in case of the death of the parent is merely a nomination. The judge does not have to honor that request, although he/she usually does. Sadly, often a parent must petition to become the guardian of his/her child’s “estate” if the child inherits or receives a gift of substantial assets, including the situation in which a parent gives his/her own child an interest in real property or stocks. Therefore, that type of gift should be avoided and a trust created instead. While the term “guardian” may refer to someone who is appointed to care for and/or handle the affairs of a person who is incompetent or incapable of administering his/her affairs, this is more often called a “conservator” under a conservatorship.

  1. Someone who guards, watches over, or protects.
  2. A person legally responsible for a minor (in loco parentis).
  3. A person legally responsible for an incompetent person.
  4. A superior in a Franciscan monastery.
  5. A major or final enemy; boss.

Full Definition of Guardian

The guardian is the person appointed by a will or the court to assume responsibility for a minor child or an incapacitated or low functioning adult. A guardianship gives the guardian the legal right to provide the necessities for another person. Guardianship may include providing food, housing, healthcare or managing the financial affairs for another person.

General duties for the guardian may include evaluating the status of real and tangible property and whether they should be bought, sold or held, paying the ward’s bills, filing all necessary tax returns, and deciding who should take care of the ward or minor child. The guardian can also ensure the ward has adequate medical care.

For a minor child, the guardian will need to terminate the guardianship at the proper age. The guardian must also file annual accounting plans and detailed information about how the assets and monies have been managed throughout the year.

Cite Term

To help you cite our definitions in your bibliography, here is the proper citation layout for the three major formatting styles, with all of the relevant information filled in.

Page URL
Modern Language Association (MLA):
Guardian. Payroll & Accounting Heaven Ltd. September 22, 2021
Chicago Manual of Style (CMS):
Guardian. Payroll & Accounting Heaven Ltd. (accessed: September 22, 2021).
American Psychological Association (APA):
Guardian. Retrieved September 22, 2021, from website:

Definition Sources

Definitions for Guardian are sourced/syndicated and enhanced from:

  • A Dictionary of Economics (Oxford Quick Reference)
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Accounting
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Business & Management

This glossary post was last updated: 28th April, 2020 | 0 Views.