Guardianship of Your Children

Establishing guardianship provisions for children is often the issue that motivates parents to schedule their first appointment with me and begin writing their will.

There is comfort in knowing that you've put a plan in place nominating the guardian to care for your children should you no longer be available to parent them.

Guardianship nominations are included as part of wills prepared for parents of young children. I guide parents through the process of selecting and securing guardians.

Parents often ask “How can I ensure that my children stay connected to grandparents and relatives on both sides of the family?” This is an understandable goal and together we make sure to define and capture that desire in your legally binding guardianship instructions.

Some families I see are international and want to name a guardian who lives outside of the country. Courts may be reluctant to approve a guardian who is outside the U.S. though more likely to approve if the guardian is willing to relocate to be with your children here.  Among other issues, the question of whether your child(ren) will have proper immigration status in their new country and a valid passport to travel abroad can complicate matters.  In such instances, naming a temporary guardian for the minor while still in the U.S. is likely a good idea. This article provides a great summary. Seeking the advice of an attorney is highly advised.

Divorced clients work with me to update their wills and, in some circumstances, the best choice for child’s guardian must accordingly be updated. Unless your ex-spouse has relinquished all parenting rights, it is unlikely that you can successfully name a guardian to prevent your ex from being the primary parent in the event of your death. 

As a father of two I take your guardianship decisions seriously and work with families to make sure that your precise wishes and instructions are documented carefully and easy to implement.

Please note: As with all of my blog postings, the information contained in this post is not legal advice.  Consult an attorney about the specifics of your situation in order to make sound legal decisions about guardianship for your children and about your estate plan.