Guardianship of Minor Children
Many parents have considered what would happen to their young children if they died. Who would take care of these children? Would your chosen family be financially capable of adding your young children to their family? As terrifying as these thoughts are, they are important to consider as you plan your estate. This page will discuss your option to appoint a guardian of your minor child in your estate plan.
Selecting the Guardians and Financial Planning
It is important to select a guardian for your children rather than leave the decision up to your family members. We have often seen familial relationships ruined as siblings, parents, uncles and aunts, and even cousins fight over what is best for your children. No one knows your children like you do, so you are in the best position to provide a caretaker for them. Once you have made your choice, it’s important that you talk to this individual so they aren’t caught off guard in the event they need to step in and care for your children.
If you have the ability, it’s important that you adequately plan for your children’s well-being by ensuring money is available for their needs. One of the best ways to do this is to set up a revocable trust with your children named as the beneficiaries. This trust can be funded with your home, cars, retirement, life insurance, savings, or any other kind of property. In this trust, you will name a trustee who will use the trust funds for the benefit of your children. These funds can be paid to their guardian for things like extracurricular activities, vacations, school fees, tutoring, medical bills, etc.
Can Anyone Object to who I Appoint as Guardian?
Yes. Any person who is interested in the welfare of your children may file a written objection with the court. They must file this objection before your selected guardian accepts the appointment, or within 30 days after notice of the guardian’s acceptance. The objection alone doesn’t disqualify the guardian, but if there is an objection, the court will likely hold a hearing to determine the child’s best interests. Generally, however, the court will defer to your decision because they usually trust that parents know what is best for their own children.