What Happens if a Potential Guardian Is Unavailable?

What Happens if a Potential Guardian Is Unavailable?

As a parent, you have probably considered who would care for your children should you unexpectedly pass away. Most parents appoint a guardian in their wills—but if that guardian is unavailable and no one else has been named, the state of Florida has authority to appoint a new guardian.

Consider appointing backup guardians

Parents often have strong opinions about who will raise their child and manage their child’s assets until they become a legal adult. Appointing a “backup” guardian provides additional safeguards that your desires would be met. It may also prevent arguments as to who is entitled or obligated to raise your child.

Your estate planning attorney can advise you on the appropriate language to use under your will to help ensure your child’s inheritance is protected.

Choosing the right guardians

When appointing a backup guardian, use the same criteria as you used to pick the first guardian. They should be someone you can trust to prioritize your child’s emotional, mental and physical health. You will also need someone you trust to manage their funds properly.

Be sure to discuss guardianship with the candidates, before rewriting your will. The people you have chosen may not be prepared to care for your children. Their child-rearing opinions could differ significantly from your own. Discuss your expectations, their willingness to act, and any other information that could affect your decision. For example, your sibling may be willing to take in teenagers, but is unable to care for children younger children.

Once you have had those discussions, your lawyer can help you update your will, create trusts and take other necessary steps to protect your child’s interests.

The attorneys at BaumannKangas Estate Law can help you appoint guardians for your children. Call us today to learn more.