One of the most important aspects of an estate plan of a parent with minor children is the selection of a guardian in the event of the parent’s incapacity or death. (There are three options)
(a) A guardian may be designated in the parent’s will. Preference is to be given to a person related to the minor, person who has relevant experience, a person who has capacity to manage the financial resources involved, or who has the ability to meet the requirements of the law and the unique needs to the individual case.
- The court must consider a person designated in the parent’s will, as well as the preference of a minor who is age 14 or over. (Several factors are considered by the court not only the parent’s designation in the will)
(b) A declaration of preneed guardian under. Must be signed by the parent, or both parents, if living, in the presence of two witnesses, and must contain the full name, date of birth, and social security number of the minor. Must be filed with the clerk of courts, and the clerk is then required to produce the declaration when a petition is filed to determine incapacity of the last surviving parent, or for the appointment of a guardian upon the death of the last surviving parent.
(c) To petition the court for the appointment of a standby guardian. Similar to a preneed guardian. This option requires prior judicial involvement, with the filing of the petition and court appointment of the named standby guardian. This tool can be used by a parent with a permanently disabled child, or by an existing guardian who wishes to protect the ward in the event of the guardian’s death or incapacity. The parent may petition to have any individual of the parent’s choice appointed as standby guardian, with the guardian’s duties to commence upon the death or incapacity of the parent.
Consider also a temporary guardianship, particularly for emergencies or short term circumstances. For instance, if you and your significant other are traveling without your children. The completed Temporary Custody Agreement allows a person indicated in the document to gain a parent-like control over a minor child/children.
(1) Planning for your minor children.
As a parent, I would do anything within my power to make sure my children are taken care of in the way I want it and by the right person. A will is not enough to ensure your kids are absolutely protected, in case something happens to you.
Here, at Velez Legal Practice, we will guide you through this, the most important process in your estate planning, with the goal of planning for the well-being and care of the children you love.
(2) Planning for young adults.
As a young adult, you should designate who can act for you (parent or trusted person) to make important decisions related to your property, finances and health, in the event you are unable to make those decision on your own.
As parents of a young adult, we should encourage our children to take action, and begin his or her estate planning, because the day your child turns 18, he or she becomes an adult, and has the legal rights of an adult. In other words, when a child turns 18, parents lose the rights to make medical and financial decisions for her/him, unless that child executes legal documents giving parent those rights back. Without the proper legal documents, access to medical and financial information, or information about medical condition can be difficult, and in some cases, impossible.
Here, at Velez Legal Practice, we will create a plan that includes the basic estate planning documents necessary to ensure that your child is protected during such an important time in their lives. This process ensures that there is open communication with the family, awareness on possibilities, duties, and responsibilities.