Our clients typically wonder what’s going to happen to their children if either or both parents pass away. Now what? The term “Guardianship” is used to appoint or name an individual(s) to take care of your minor children if either parent or both, have passed away or become incapacitated. In the absence of documentation detailing the parents’ Guardianship nomination, it is up to a family member or friend or another individual closely related to the children to petition the court for Guardianship and explain to the court why they would be the best person to take care of the children and raise the children. Guardianships are accomplished with a probate filing, or a probate petition, where an attorney general should be involved. It can be time-consuming, and along with it can be expensive. What we try and do in our documents has put a plan in place for Guardianship of our clients’ minor children, making things crystal clear and not leave any confusion.
We accomplish the Guardianship nominations in two different ways, a Last Will and Testament (“Will”) or a Trust. Through either the Will or the Trust, you include provisions where you name who you want to be the Guardian of your children. It’s a good idea to name at least one backup person to be the Guardian, in the case where the nominated Guardian is unable to do it or can’t do it or pre-deceased the client. These provisions in the Will or Trust are used so that the parents’ wishes are clear. If a married couple is nominated for guardianship, we can go further and state the preferences if the couple were to separate or divorce.