The roles of the tutor and under-tutor

There are 2 people appointed in a continuing tutorship:

  • The Tutor is responsible for making decisions for the person and signing documents like leases or medical forms.

  • The Under-Tutor is another person who checks up on the tutor to make sure they are acting in the person's best interests.

Just because you're the parent doesn't mean you'll automatically be the tutor. You still have to get permission from the court!

 

Both parents can file a petition with the court for the continuing tutorship. They'll probably ask for one parent to be named as tutor and the other to be named as under-tutor.

The Court can name other people to take on these roles. For example, other relatives, friends, or caretakers.

This might happen if:

  • One or both parents have died

  • The parents are not involved in the child's life

  • The parents don't want this responsibility

Click on the boxes below to learn more:

The tutor has custody of their child or family member, and cares for them.

The tutor is also responsible for:

  • Making sure they are educated

  • Making sure they are properly taken care of

  • Managing their estate and finances

  • Providing consent for medical treatment

  • Getting copies of any medical, educational, or other records that may help to make decisions

  • Recording the order granting the continuing tutorship in the parish where the family member lives

  • Act in their best interests

  • Submitting an annual statement to the court, outlining the estate of the person in their care

Tutors can be charged a fine if they mismanage their family member's finances or other affairs.

Tutors must keep any paperwork related to their family member’s legal, medical, educational, or financial matters.

For example:

  • Legal records: Copies of court paperwork, including the tutorship appointment

  • Medical records: Reports from medical exams, lab reports, consent forms, medicine information, insurance paperwork.

  • Financial records: Bank account statements, tax returns

  • Educational records: Individualized Education Program (IEP) and progress notes

Here's what you can do:

  • Ask the judge or check with the Court. They may ask for a written policy that describes exactly which records you will keep and for how long. (It's usually about 5 years after you stop being tutor.)

The under-tutor has specific responsibilities:

The under-tutor's biggest responsibility is making sure the tutor is carrying out all of their duties. The under-tutor must monitor the tutor's actions and tell the Court if the tutor has failed to act in the best interests of the person in their care.

The under-tutor is required to agree or disagree whenever the tutor wants to make major financial decisions for the person in their care.

Source: Advocacy Center of LA

Not just anybody can be tutor or under-tutor!

The tutor and under-tutor must both be:

  • At least 18 years old

  • "Of good moral character" - this means you cannot be convicted of a crime, or indebted to the person you're trying to get authority over.

  • You also can't be in a lawsuit against the person for whom you'll be tutor or under-tutor.

These are some other requirements:

  • Both tutor and under-tutor must take oaths that they will "discharge faithfully the duties of their positions". This means they will carry out their responsibilities in the best interests of the person in their care.

  • In some cases the tutor might be required to get a detailed listing of the property that belongs to the person.

  • In some cases, the tutor might be required to post a bond (put money up front as a deposit) that is equal to the value of the person's estate. This is decided on a case-by-case basis.

  • Once the tutor and under-tutor have fulfilled these requirements, they'll receive official letters of tutorship and under-tutorship that list their names and roles.

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Source: Advocacy Center of LA

No. The under-tutor must tell the court to name a new tutor.

This is where it gets tricky. Let's say one parent was named tutor and the other under-tutor. The tutor has now died, acted improperly, or is being removed for some other reason. Now the other parent, the "under-tutor", wants to become tutor. But they can't! This move from under-tutor to tutor is not allowed, even if they are the most qualified person.

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