Ward Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Ward, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Ward?

(n) A ward is an individual who’s responsibility is assigned to another person by a court of law for proper upkeep and care. Generally this is the term used to represent kids, who are not properly maintained by their parents or those who are diverted to crime and illegal activities, ordered by the court to be lived under a guardian appointed by the court for proper socialized growth.

History and Meaning of Ward

The concept of the wardship has its roots in medieval English law. Initially, it was used to define a person whose property was taken under control by a feudal lord during their minority or incapacity. In the United States, the term developed a different meaning, referring to minors who have been placed under the care of a guardian appointed by a court of law.

Examples of Ward

  1. A child whose parents have been deemed unfit due to drug addiction may become a ward of the state and placed under the care of a foster parent.
  2. A minor who inherits a large sum of money or property may be made a ward of court to ensure their assets are managed properly until they reach adulthood.
  3. A teenager who is found guilty of a serious crime may be placed in a juvenile detention center and become a ward of the state.

Legal Terms Similar to Ward

  1. Guardianship: A legal relationship in which a court appoints a person to assume responsibility for the care of another person.
  2. Conservatorship: A legal arrangement where a guardian is appointed by the court to manage the financial affairs of an individual who is unable to do so due to their incapacity.
  3. Custody: Refers to legal guardianship of a child; parents can have joint custody or one parent can be granted sole custody.