If a minor's parents are both deceased, a court can appoint a guardian to care for the minor child and make decisions for the child until he or she reaches the age of majority. If the child is the owner or beneficiary of financial assets, the court can also appoint a conservator to make financial decisions for the minor child. One person often serves as both the guardian and conservator for a child. Guardianship is a complex process and legal counsel is invaluable to ensure your rights are protected.

Children not born within the Unites States who are in the country without parents are sometimes eligible for Special Immigration Juvenile Status (SIJS) or another form of relief. SIJS grants legal residency to children who are under the jurisdiction of the courts and in need of guardianship or protection. One expeditious way to help orphaned children receive SIJS is through a guardianship proceeding. See the Immigration area of practice for additional information.