Guardianship for Minor Children

by: Barry Benton, Attorney
Guardianship generally refers to the appointment of a person or persons entrusted for the physical care of another. This could be a person appointed in a Will to care for minor child(ren) after their parents are deceased, or it could be someone appointed to care for an adult who is determined to be incapacitated for one reason or another.
If you have minor children, one of the most important reasons to have an estate plan is NOT distribution of your assets, but the appointment of a Guardian to take physical custody of your children and raise them for you. The Guardian will be responsible for the day-to-day care of your children, and for ensuring the continued academic and spiritual education of your children, in accordance with your stated wishes. Guardianship for a minor child will typically last until the child has reached 18 years of age. It is recommended that you name a primary Guardian, as well as an alternate to serve in the event the person(s) first named are unable or unwilling to serve for any reason. These should be persons you are confident will raise your children in a manner that you would approve. If you do not provide this instruction in your estate plan (Last Will and Testament) the court will appoint someone who petitions for the position, and that may or may not be the person(s) you would have selected yourself.
Contact your Trust Services Department if you need to set up a guardianship for your minor children in your Last Will and Testament.