Legal guardian

A legal guardian


Legal guardians legally assist and support minor children, mentally disabled persons or incapacitated older adults in their personal life. They can manage their property, help with daily financial administration and assist with the ward’s medical or social needs.

The duties of a legal guardian typically include, but are not limited to:

  • Making decisions related to the individual’s health care, education, and finances, in accordance with their best interests and the court’s orders
  • Managing the individual’s assets and finances, including paying bills and managing investments
  • Ensuring that the individual’s basic needs are met, such as food, clothing, and shelter
  • Advocating for the individual’s rights and ensuring that they are treated with dignity and respect
  • Maintaining accurate records of all decisions and transactions, and providing reports to the court as required
  • Acting as a liaison between the individual and other professionals, such as doctors, lawyers, and social workers
  • Participating in ongoing training and professional development to stay up-to-date on best practices and legal requirements in the field.

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to legal guardian:

court-appointed guardian
foster parent
youth legal guardian
department of work and pensions appointee
legal parent
welfare guardian
financial guardian

Working conditions

The working conditions for a legal guardian may vary depending on the specific case and the needs of the individual they are representing. Guardians may work in an office setting, but may also need to visit the individual’s home or other locations as needed. The job can be emotionally challenging, as legal guardians are responsible for making difficult decisions on behalf of vulnerable individuals.

Minimum qualifications

The requirements for becoming a legal guardian may vary depending on the jurisdiction, but generally require the individual to be a responsible and capable adult. Some states may require that guardians complete training or other requirements to ensure that they are qualified to fulfill their duties. Guardians should have a strong understanding of legal and financial matters, as well as a commitment to upholding the rights and well-being of the individual they are representing.

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Legal guardian is a Skill level 3 occupation.

Legal guardian career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to legal guardian.

social care worker
disability support worker
child welfare worker
residential childcare worker
family support worker

Long term prospects

These occupations require some skills and knowledge of legal guardian. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of legal guardian with a significant experience and/or extensive training.

child care coordinator
early years teacher
early years special educational needs teacher
Freinet school teacher
Montessori school teacher

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of legal guardian.

  • Legal requirements in the social sector: The prescribed legislative and regulatory requirements in the social sector.
  • Family law: The legal rules that govern family-related disputes between individuals such as marriages, child adoption, civil unions, etc.
  • Personal development: The techniques and methods used to improve awareness and identity and develop talents and potential in human beings.
  • First aid: The emergency treatment given to a sick or injured person in the case of circulatory and/or respiratory failure, unconsciousness, wounds, bleeding, shock or poisoning.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of legal guardian.

  • Provide first aid: Administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation or first aid in order to provide help to a sick or injured person until they receive more complete medical treatment.
  • Give advice on personal matters: Advise people on love and marriage issues, business and job opportunities, health or other personal aspects.
  • Contribute to protecting individuals from harm: Use established processes and procedures to challenge and report dangerous, abusive, discriminatory or exploitative behaviour and practice, bringing any such behaviour to the attention of the employer or the appropriate authority.
  • Advocate for social service users: Speak for and on behalf of service users, using communicative skills and knowledge of relevant fields to assist those less advantaged.
  • Assist with personal administration issues: Assist individuals with administration activities such as shopping, banking or paying bills.
  • Apply person-centred care: Treat individuals as partners in planning, developing and assessing care, to make sure it is appropriate for their needs. Put them and their caregivers at the heart of all decisions.
  • Listen actively: Give attention to what other people say, patiently understand points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times; able to listen carefully the needs of customers, clients, passengers, service users or others, and provide solutions accordingly.
  • Maintain the trust of service users: Establish and maintain the trust and confidence of the client, communicating in an appropriate, open, accurate and straightforward way and being honest and reliable.

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of legal guardian. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Disability care: The specific methods and practices used in providing care to people with physical, intellectual and learning disabilities.
  • Older adults’ needs: The physical, mental, and social needs of frail, older adults.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of legal guardian. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

ISCO group and title

3412 – Social work associate professionals

  1. Legal guardian – ESCO
  2. What Does a Guardian Do? –
  3. Family Law Self-Help Center – Powers and Duties of a Guardian
  4. Featured image: Photo by Alexander Dummer on Unsplash
Last updated on April 22, 2023

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