A guardian is appointed by the probate court or designated by parental or spousal nomination in a will or other document to exercise powers over a minor or legally incapacitated individual. Generally, a guardian “has the powers and responsibilities of a parent.” MCL 700.5215. Although in some cases a guardian may manage the child’s assets, a guardian is primarily concerned with the physical care and upbringing of the child.
The nomination of a guardian for a minor or a legally incapacitated individual is very important. Many young couples are concerned about a family fight over custody if their children become orphaned, pr they fear that someone will be appointed who does not share their philosophies about child rearing. Indeed, the ability to name a guardian often motivates the making of the will by individuals with very few possessions or net worth.