This question gets asked more than you think, and the simple answer is no. Whenever you have children that are your own flesh and blood, you won’t need to go through the process of setting up guardianship.

Based on the paperwork you fill out at the hospital, it’s assumed that you are the legal guardian of the child.

However, some states have a tiny exception to this rule. Guardianship of the estate is a strange caveat of guardianship. This type of guardianship is only required when the child receives a sizable amount of assets, typically in excess of $5,000.

Guardianship of the estate is required because most people would agree that children are not responsible enough to have control over assets worth more than $5,000.  

On the other hand, if the assets in question were given directly to the child, courts want to do their best to make sure the assets are given to the child or at least used for the child’s benefit.

That’s where guardianship of estate comes in. When parents establish guardianship of estate, they are accountable to the court and must explain how the funds will be used.


Here’s an example of how it works.

Grandpa Eustace passes away and in his will he leaves his house to the only grandchild, your 10-year-old son. Common sense says that a 10-year-old boy will not be able to maintain the house or sell it and properly invest the proceeds.

This is why you can apply for guardianship of estate, to make decisions about the house. As long as those decisions are in the best interest of the child, the court should approve.
A way to bypass the mess of setting all this up, is to give the child the assets as a gift. If the giver names a guardian in their will or trust, setting up guardianship of estate isn’t necessary.