Can an 18 Year Old be a Guardian of Siblings: Yes in 4 Situations

Selina, my late friend’s daughter, asked me, “Can an 18 year old be a guardian of siblings?” She also said, “Since my father passed away, my entire family has been relying on me to take care of my younger siblings. Now that I am 18, can I legally be their guardian?”

Yes, in certain circumstances, an 18-year-old can become a legal guardian of his or her siblings. The U.S. Supreme Court has stated that an adult can act as a full legal guardian without being court-appointed. However, four circumstances must be met for an 18-year-old to be able to act as a legal guardian of their siblings. This article will tell you in detail about it.

can an 18 year old be a guardian

Can an 18 Year Old be a Guardian: Yes, If Meets 4 Circumstances

Here are 4 circumstances of legal guardianship for adults who are 18.

#1. If the parents are deceased or not available:

If both parents are deceased or can’t be located, then 18 year old can become the legal guardian of their siblings. Here’s what can happen in this situation. The 18-year-old can go to court and apply for an appointment as the legal guardian of their siblings.

The court may hold a hearing to determine if the 18 years old is qualified to be a legal guardian, and if they can prove that they can provide adequate care for their siblings, then the court can appoint them as the legal guardian.

If you are 18, remember that other relatives, like grandparents, can also apply for guardianship in such cases. So be prepared mentally for the situation.

#2. If the parents are not capable of being guardians:

Under certain circumstances, parents may not be able to act as the legal guardians of their children. In such cases, an 18 years old can apply for guardianship over his siblings.

Suppose your parents cannot provide adequate care for your siblings due to physical or mental illness or disability. In that case, you can go to court and apply for an appointment as the legal guardian of your siblings.

The court will hold a hearing to establish if you, as the 18-year-old, can provide adequate care for your younger siblings. You can become their legal guardian if it is determined that sufficient care can be provided.

It’s worth mentioning that sometimes guardianship can be appointed to someone other than the 18-year-old sibling. So while deciding who should have guardianship over your siblings, make sure all possible options are considered.

#3. If you are financially stable:

If you can prove that you are financially stable, then the court can appoint you as the legal guardian. The court will consider your financial stability and grant guardianship if they believe you can provide adequate care for your siblings.

In addition to proving that you can support yourself, you may have to demonstrate proof of having a job or regular income and provide evidence of having saved up enough money to cover your siblings’ needs.

Keep in mind that you can also get help from other family members or friends who can contribute financially towards the care of your siblings.

#4. If the court thinks you are mature enough to be a guardian:

The court can also consider your age, maturity level, and other factors to determine if you can be appointed as the legal guardian of your siblings.

How to demonstrate to the court that you are mature? You can provide evidence such as a letter of reference from a teacher or mentor, documentation that proves you can responsibly handle finances, and any other proof that can show the court your ability to take on the responsibility of being a guardian for your siblings.

The court can grant guardianship over your siblings to an adult 18 years or older if they demonstrate the maturity to take on such responsibility. If the court believes that the 18 year old isn’t mature yet in everything, then they can appoint a guardian 21 years or older.

If you are still not convinced, watch the below video about when guardianship end:

FAQs on Can an 18 Year Old be a Guardian of Siblings

Can a 19 year old be a legal guardian?

The answer to this question depends on the laws of the specific state. Generally, legal guardianship is reserved for people aged 21 and over. In some states, however, it may be possible for a 19-year-old to become the legal guardian of another person or minor child if they meet certain criteria.

For example, in California, 19 years old may be eligible to become a legal guardians if they can demonstrate that they can provide guidance and support for the person or minor child in their care. In addition, certain circumstances, such as having prior experience with caring for other individuals or minors, may make it more likely that a court will grant guardianship to someone who is under the age of 21. 

Ultimately, it is best to check with your local court or an attorney to determine if you are eligible for legal guardianship as a 19-year-old. 

Can my 18 year old brother be my guardian?

In the eyes of the law, your brother is an adult and is, therefore, capable of serving as your legal guardian. However, there are a few things to consider before making this decision.

First, your brother will need to be willing and able to take on the responsibility of caring for you. This includes providing financial support, ensuring a safe and stable home, and helping you make major life decisions.

Additionally, he will need to be prepared to make sacrifices in his own life to meet your needs. If your brother is up for the challenge, then he can definitely serve as your legal guardian.

However, if he does not feel ready or capable, it may be best to look into other options.

What age does legal guardianship end?

In the United States, legal guardianship typically ends when a child reaches the age of 18. At that point, the child is considered an adult and legally responsible for his or her actions. However, there are some exceptions to this rule.

In certain cases, a court may extend guardianship into adulthood if it determines that the child is incapable of making responsible decisions. For example, if a child has a disability that prevents him or her from communicating or understanding basic concepts, the court may appoint a legal guardian to make decisions on the child’s behalf.

In other cases, a court may find that a child does not have the mental capacity to manage his or her finances and may appoint a guardian to handle those tasks.

Ultimately, though, the age of majority is 18, and most children will no longer be under the legal guardianship of their parents at that point.

Guardianship of a Minor – who can become a guardian?

When a minor’s parent cannot care for themselves due to age, disability, or other factors, guardians may be appointed to provide legal and financial protection. The person who takes on this role is referred to as the guardian, who will become responsible for the minor’s decisions relating to physical care and finances. 

In some cases, the court may appoint an individual to become a guardian if no other appropriate family member is able and willing to accept such responsibility. However, in most circumstances, guardianship will be granted to a family member or someone close with a strong bond to the minor. Generally speaking, the following individuals can be considered for guardianship of a minor:

  • Stepparents – If a stepparent has adopted the minor or has demonstrated extraordinary love, affection, and devotion for them, they may be considered for guardianship.
  • Siblings – A sibling over 18 years of age may become a guardian if they can provide the minor with a stable home and financial support.
  • Aunts/Uncles – An aunt or uncle may be considered for guardianship as long as they can provide appropriate care to the minor.
  • Close Friends – If no family member is available, an individual, such as a close family friend, may be granted guardianship by the court.

The role of a guardian is important and should not be taken lightly. If you are considering becoming a guardian, it’s important to research all your options and consider what would be best for the minor’s future. It’s also essential to consult with an attorney and understand your legal rights and responsibilities before taking on the role.

Can I make my sister my guardian?

Yes, you can make your sister your guardian. A guardianship is a legal process whereby someone (the guardian) is appointed and approved by a court to assume the responsibility of taking care of another person or their assets and property (the ward).

If you are under 18 years old, you must gain the court’s approval for your sister to become your legal guardian. The process involves:

  • Filing the appropriate documents with the court.
  • Attending hearings.
  • Providing evidence of why having your sister as your guardian would be in your best interest. 

The court will also need to determine that your sister has the capacity and willingness to act as a responsible guardian. This will involve proving that she can make sound decisions about your health, safety, and well-being; for example, showing proof that she has a steady source of income or has access to financial resources that could be used if necessary.

Additionally, she may be required to pass background checks and demonstrate her commitment to acting in your best interests. The responsibilities associated with being someone’s legal guardian include:

  • Ensuring that they receive proper medical care and education.
  • Providing financial support when needed.
  • Generally nurturing them into adulthood.

This includes attending school activities such as parent-teacher meetings and having an active role in helping them make decisions regarding their schooling or future career plans.

It also encompasses other duties such as ensuring they get adequate food and clothing; proper nutrition; exercise; safety precautions; religious instruction or spiritual guidance; parental discipline within reasonable limits; avoidance of potential hazards including drugs, alcohol, dangerous activities, etc.; respect for laws; instilling moral values; preparing them for independent living when they reach adulthood; protecting their civil rights, etc.; 

So, ultimately you can make your sister your legal guardian if you are under 18 years old – however, certain steps require gaining the court’s approval beforehand.

Can an 18 year old get custody of a sibling in Ohio?

In Ohio, any person over 18 can petition the court for custody of a minor sibling. Custody can be awarded to an individual, or to a married couple, provided that they can provide a stable and loving home for the child.

The court will consider several factors when deciding custody, including the child’s age, health, and relationship with the custodial parent.

In addition, the court will also take into account the financial resources of the petitioner, as well as their ability to provide for the child’s physical and emotional needs. If the petitioner can meet these criteria, there is a good chance that they will be awarded custody of their sibling.


It can be concluded that an 18-year-old can become his siblings’ legal guardian if he can meet the four circumstances listed above. The court can grant guardianship after considering the applicant’s financial stability, age, and maturity level. In some cases, other family members can also apply for guardianship. Therefore, the decision should be made after considering all possible options.

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