Our favorite HeartwarmingOrphan has recently lost his [[ParentalAbandonment beloved parents]] and is in danger of being sent to an OrphanageOfFear. But what's this? [[EvilUncle That uncle we've never heard of has agreed to be our legal guardian!]] The family fortune is saved! We just have to wait until we're 18 and... what's uncle doing with that axe?

This is the Illegal Guardian, who may be an EvilUncle or WickedStepmother or no relative at all with an EvilPlan to get all the money from those darn ''cough, cough'' beloved children.

Not to be confused with a nanny whose only crime is [[TheIllegal being undocumented]].
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!!Examples:

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[[folder: Anime and Manga ]]

* In ''Anime/MichikoToHatchin'', Hana is adopted by a priest after her mother is arrested. The entire family is abusive, and the priest's main motivation for keeping Hana around is for the welfare payments. And that's ''before'' said priest decides to just try and kill her after she runs away so he can cash in on the insurance money.
* Subverted by ''MagicalGirlLyricalNanoha''. Hayate's guardian is [[spoiler: Admiral Gil Graham of the TSAB]], who set her up in a nice house, paid all her bills for her, and generally gave her the comfiest life a crippled preteen could ask for. Then he put her through a HeroicBSOD and DemonicPossession and nearly had her sealed away between the dimensions for the rest of eternity. The subversion comes about because [[spoiler: Graham]] ''genuinely'' wanted Hayate to have a good life before he did this, and he viewed his actions as being [[ShootTheDog regrettable but necessary]] in order to save billions of lives from the ArtifactOfDoom possessing Hayate.

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[[folder: Film ]]

* In ''The Glass House'' (2001), the childless couple Erin (Diane Lane) and Terry (Stellan Skarsgård) Glass take in 16-year-old Ruby (Leelee Sobieski) and 11-year-old Rhett (Trevor Morgan) after their parents are killed in an auto accident. Ruby eventually learns that the Glasses are after the children's $4 million trust fund. Terry is in hock to loan sharks, and Erin uses drugs. They also may have been involved in the accident.

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[[folder: Literature ]]

* Count Olaf throughout ''Literature/ASeriesOfUnfortunateEvents''
* Sheridan [=LeFanu=]'s ''Uncle Silas''. Played with a bit, as the dying father intentionally leaves his daughter in his brother's care to clear his name, as he thinks Silas was wrongfully accused of murder years ago.
* Creator/RoaldDahl's ''Literature/{{Matilda}}'' features the terrifying Agatha Trunchbull, evil aunt to the angelic Miss Honey, who fits this trope to a tee. Not only did she force Miss Honey to do all the housework as a child, she also [[spoiler:mistreated her, leaving her a nervous wreck]]. All this ''after'' she had [[spoiler:forced the emotionally battered Miss Honey to forfeit all rights to her inheritance]].
* The main character of ''Literature/TheDresdenFiles'' spent the last four years of his childhood living with one of these, though [[EvilMentor Justin DuMorne]] was after magically powerful slaves rather than money.
* In ''Literature/HarryPotterAndThePhilosophersStone'', Harry believed his Uncle and his Aunt would have stolen his father's fortune if they knew about it. Given [[CinderellaCircumstances how they treated him]], it's a reasonable fear.
* In ''Literature/{{Animorphs}}'' Tobias had previously lived with an aunt or uncle, neither of whom cared much about him. Then a long-lost cousin suddenly appears who seems interested in taking him in...only to be revealed to be [[spoiler:Visser Three in morph]], who became interested in Tobias because he's [[spoiler:Elfangor's son]].
* In ''Literature/LesMiserables'', Fantine leaves her daughter, Cosette, in the care of the corner-cutting Innkeepers Thenardier who work Cosette as a servant.

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[[folder: Theater ]]

* ''Theatre/RichardIII'', making another one for TheZerothLawOfTropeExamples
** Claudius, in ''Theatre/{{Hamlet}}''. He wouldn't need to abuse his position as Hamlet's stepfather, since he's also the ''king,'' but he finds it politically advantageous to do so rather than ordering the technical-rightful-king around.
* Mime from Creator/RichardWagner's ''[[Theatre/DerRingDesNibelungen Siegfried]]''. A DirtyCoward who tends to be (wrongly) made into The Woobie in modern productions.
* Rooster Hannigan and Lily St. Regis, from ''Theatre/{{Annie}}'', pretend to be Little Orphan Annie's "real parents" to scam reward money out of Daddy Warbucks.
* Uncle Barnaby in ''Theatre/BabesInToyland'' (though not the 1934 or 1961 film adaptations).

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[[folder: Western Animation ]]

* Edgar, the butler in ''Disney/TheAristocats''
* Sylvester Sneekly from ''ThePerilsOfPenelopePitstop''
* A movie for ''The Littles'' focused on Tom and Lucy befriending an orphan boy who's abused and locked up by his uncle, who only took him in for the access to boy's inheritance. Later the boy finds a letter from his father saying that his uncle was ''never'' meant to adopt him, someone else was.
* WesternAnimation/TomAndJerry helped a girl who lived with that kind of guardian in TheMovie.

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[[folder: Real Life ]]

* Richard III... maybe.
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