“While the choice of a child’s legal guardian is highly personal, there are some considerations that everyone should think about,” Michelle Kaminsky, Esq. cautions in legalzoom.com. The surviving parent will have first right to custody after the other dies, so, if this is something you don’t want, Kaminsky reminds readers, it’s important to plan ahead of time. Other considerations include:
- If there is more than one minor child, each needs to have a guardian named.
- Be sure the person you name is in a position to care for the children – (If there are other children, will the families blend?)
- How far away is the guardian from people who are important in your children’s lives? Will the children need to move?
- What about the guardian’s finances?
- Does the guardian share your personal and religious values?
A guardianship is a legal relationship between a minor child and the guardian, who is responsible for taking care of the child’s needs, including:
- medical care
Actually, there are two types of guardian, everplans.com explains: “Guardian of the Person,” who handles child rearing, and “Guardian of the Estate,” who handles the child’s finances; the same person may be chosen to fill both roles, or the roles may be separated. The guardianship will continue until:
- the child reaches the legal age of majority (18 in most states)
the child dies
- a judge determines the arrangement is no longer beneficial
- (in the case of a financial guardianship only) the child’s finances are exhausted.
Naming guardians for children represents a crucially important decision. At Geyer Law, we carefully evaluate each family situation before recommending and then developing a customized guardianship plan.
– by Ronnie of the Rebecca W. Geyer blog team