How to Pick a Guardian

Quick Overview
A legal guardian, the person in charge of the day-to-day care of any children under the age of 18, ideally is:
  • Willing to do the job

  • Healthy and young enough to stay with the kids until they are 18 They don’t have to be local

  • They can also be the trustee

Grandparents
  • Double-check age and health - the court wants to permanently place a child

  • If they are they best choice, lets support them with resources and financial support as they age

How does the process work?
  • The legal guardian needs to be approved by the court

  • The court will consider your nomination, but they can select the person they think is best for the job

  • If no one is nominated, they will ask everyone in your family if they will serve, before the child is placed in foster care

  • An older child has a voice in where they want to stay and the possibility of becoming an emancipated minor (adult legal status) after the age of 16

What if you have international family?
  • Make sure to authorize your permanent guardian as well as a temporary local guardian

  • Doing an estate plan is more important - you need to authorize resources to help pay for legal expenses, the process is more complex, probate is very bad

  • Your international guardian may need to adopt the child to take them overseas

What if I have problematic family members (drug, alcohol, abuse)?
  • We can have you prepare a detailed declaration for the judge on why they should never be considered (least private, most effective)

  • We can make a simple statement you do not want them to be considered (this will probably work, its not totally private, but does not require disclosing details)

  • We can make a long list of who to consider first (most private, but won’t let the judge know that the problematic person is problematic.

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