Two guardians with a child
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When you have young children, you want to provide for them financially in case you do not live to see them become adults. You might buy a life insurance policy and get a will or living trust. You can and should name someone to serve as your child’s guardian if you die before the child reaches majority.

It is a simple matter to name guardians for your child. This article explains how to choose guardians for your minor children and some things you will want to know when doing so. A Florida estate planning attorney can draft the documents and administer your estate to carry out your wishes.

Do I Have to Create a Separate Document to Designate a Guardian for My Young Child?

No, you can name someone in your will to serve as the guardian of your minor child. No separate document is required. When your will is probated, the judge will have your guardian designation as a part of your will.

Can I Name More Than One Person as the Guardian of My Child?

Yes, and you should do so. The first person you chose might not be available or willing to serve at the time of your death. You will want to name at least one backup, also called successor, guardian.

Guardianship involves the day-to-day care of the minor child (guardian of the person) as well as managing the financial matters of the child’s assets (conservatorship). One person can do both functions, but many people choose one person as guardian of the person and a different person as the conservator.

How Does the Person I Chose Become My Child’s Legal Guardian?

The designation of a guardian in your will does not guarantee that the individual will become your child’s guardian. The person who gets named can take the will to court and petition the judge to name him or her as your child’s legal guardian. A judge will have to determine whether the person you named as guardian meets Florida’s qualifications to serve as the guardian of a minor child.

Sometimes, a different person feels strongly that they want to raise your child if you die while the child is a minor. In this situation, there might be a court battle, or the person you named might agree to let the other person serve.

Let’s say that you made a will when your child was a newborn and named your parent to serve as the guardian. Fifteen years later, when you passed on, your parent had advanced dementia and would no longer be a good choice as guardian. Your sister petitioned the court to serve as the guardian instead of your parent. After a hearing, the judge would likely appoint your sister as guardian, unless she has disqualifying factors.

Can I Leave Instructions for the Guardian?

Yes, you can leave a letter that details your wishes about religion, education, medical care, and anything else that you want the guardian to know. Raising someone else’s child can create anxiety, particularly when the guardian is not sure about what the parent would have wanted.

Contact an Estate Planning Attorney Today

A Florida estate planning attorney can guide you through the process of selecting a guardian for your minor child. Call our office today to set up a consultation.