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 ''Anime/MagicalGirlLyricalNanohaAs''. 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.
* In ''Anime/TigerAndBunny'' Barnaby was raised by his parents' friend and business partner following his parents' murder. It turns out Maverick [[spoiler:used his super power a type of MindRape to control Barnaby and make him believe the murder was someone other than Maverick himself, while using him as a means of raising the profile of HeroTV, the superhero tv show Barnaby works for.]] All while staging many of the the crimes Barnaby and his coworkers stop, directly against the wishes of his Baranby's parents.

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[[folder: Film ]]

* ''Film/EscapeToWitchMountain'': Tony and Tia are orphaned siblings with an assortment of intriguing PsychicPowers. A corrupt rich guy, Mr. Bolt, gets his [[TheDragon Dragon]] Lucas Deranian to forge papers making himself out to be the kids' uncle, so Deranian can take custody of the kids and deliver them to Bolt.
* In ''Film/TheGlassHouse'' (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.
* In ''Film/TheManFromKangaroo'', Muriel's guardian Martin Giles has ben embezzling from her. Now she is almost of age, he plans to marry her to gain complete control of her fortune and to prevent her from ever testifying against him.

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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.
* Basil Tramplebone (with that kind of name, you '''know''' [[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast he can't be up to any good]]) is one to Measle in ''Measle And The Wrathmonk''. A thoroughly detestable individual who so happens to be a [[EvilSorceror mad warlock]], Basil is after Measle's inheritance [[spoiler:and is in fact responsible for the disappearance of his parents]].
* In ''Literature/ACollegeOfMagics'', Faris's Uncle Brinker is her guardian and regent until she comes of age, and fully intends to have settled things to his own advantage before she does. [[spoiler:It's not him trying to kill her, though; she's much more useful to him alive.]]
* In ''Literature/DearAmerica'' "Down the Rabbit Hole", Pringle Duncan's aunt and uncle move into Pringle's (very grand and expensive) home after her parents are killed in an accident, ostensibly to care for Pringle and her brother, but they treat the Duncan siblings so badly that they run away shortly thereafter. The epilogue states that Pringle returned at the age of 21 to reclaim her home and her inheritance from her shocked aunt, who had believed that Pringle and Gideon were gone for good and so she would get what was rightfully theirs.
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[[folder: Theater ]]

* ''Theatre/RichardIII'', making another one for JustForFun/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 Music/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 ''WesternAnimation/ThePerilsOfPenelopePitstop'' is Penelope's legal guardian, who secretly plans to do her in as the Hooded Claw so that he can inherit her family fortune.
* A movie for ''Literature/TheLittles'' 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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