Guardianship of a Minor

Once you have kids, your perspective on what is important in life changes. Should you die, you want to be sure that your minor children are taken care of through legal guardianship. Most people will create a Will naming a guardian in the event of their death. However, you should know that the court will look to the best interest of the child if your Will isn’t immediately located.

Washington state provides that a parent can appoint a guardian for his or her minor child in a Will. Unless the designated person is not appropriate, he or she is recognized as the child’s Guardian of the Person.

Guardianship Nomination for Minor Child.

Washington allows a biological parent to nominate a guardian for his or her child by Will upon their passing.

Common Questions About Guardianships for Minors.

Who Should I Pick to Serve as Guardian of my Minor Children?

This is a very personal decision, which gives many people angst; who should care for your children in your place if you should die? You know your children better than anyone, and you have your philosophy of parenthood, which you will likely want to have the Guardian share. Here are some thoughts that might help you make your decision.

  • Talk to the Potential Guardian About their Willingness and Ability to Serve. This might seem uncomfortable, as after talking to a candidate you might select someone else, but by asking the candidate their thoughts, you might find out vital information. Perhaps the marriage you thought was stable is not, or that the candidate is planning on moving into a one-bedroom apartment in Philadelphia.
  • What is the Guardian’s Age and Health: Your mother and father might have been great parents for little children when they were younger, but will they be able to keep up with your active five-year-old on a full-time basis? On the other hand, perhaps a younger person with one child already simply is not capable of taking on your two additional children?
  • Will the Guardian Have the Money to Raise Your Children: Children are expensive, can the Guardian shoulder these extra costs? Can you set up a trust to pay for the extra costs?
  • Where Would Your Child Attend School: Your sister might be a great parent, but what school district would you child be living in if she was the Guardian?
  • Parenting Style for Your Child: Be honest about your child. Does your child need structure? The maybe that easy going brother of yours isn’t the best choice. Does your child need her space, then maybe that caring, but rather intrusive sister maybe is not the best choice.

What is a Guardian of the Person?

A Guardian of the Person is given the power to make all necessary decisions for the Ward. For example, deciding where the Ward lives and which doctor the Ward visits. A Limited Guardian of the Person will only have the power to make decisions for the Ward that the judge allows.

What Is Guardianship of Minors?

Guardianship of Minors refers to the court appointing someone Guardian of the Person or Guardian of the Estate for an orphaned minor.

Temporary Guardians for Minor Heirs / Guardian ad litem

Interested persons can have a Guardianship Attorney petition the court asking for the appointment of a temporary guardian or Guardian ad litem, to represent the child’s interests.

What is a Guardian ad litem?

A Guardian ad litem is a person a judge appoints to represent a minor child’s interests in Guardianship process. The Guardian ad litem speaks for the child’s best interest and will submit reports and investigate.

What is a Temporary Guardian Document?

If you have minor children, you should have a document that appoints a temporary guardian for your children should both parents be unavailable or unable to make medical decisions for the minor children.

Experienced, With Reasonable Prices, We Make Estate Planning and Guardianships Easier.

If you have any questions regarding Guardianships or any other Estate Planning topics, please contact us to schedule a free consultation. At Vancouver Wills and Trusts we focus on estate law. With years of experience we will explain complex estate planning techniques clearly and concisely. We make it easy for you to understand estate planning so you can make the best decisions for yourself and your family.