As my father's guardian, am I responsible for his financial needs if he is unable to meet them?

Abby asked...

As guardian over my father, am I responsible for his financial needs if he is unable to meet them?

Expert Answer

Barbara Repa, a Caring.com senior editor, is an attorney, a journalist specializing in aging issues, and the author of Your Rights in the Workplace (Nolo), now in its 10th edition.

Your father's debts will remain his debts.

In general, as legal guardian or conservator, you will be personal liable for debts you officially incur on his behalf only if:

  • you agreed in advance to be personally responsible, such as by co-signing or guaranteeing a particular transaction
  • you are liable for the debts because of another legal relationship that results in a duty of support, such as you claim your father as a dependent
  • your negligence caused the debt, or
  • you acted beyond your legal authority as guardian or conservator in incurring the debt.