Estate Planning Lawyer
Planning an estate plan is something you should not put off too long. While it may not be the most romantic thing, it is integral in ensuring that your property gets distributed and your affairs handled after your death. Without it, you can leave behind a mess for your surviving family to clean up. The probate process without a will can tie up your estate for a long time. Even if your estate isn’t too large, there are still items that need addressing. An estate planning lawyer can help you hone in on what applies to you and what doesn’t. Take a look at one of the things you may have to address in your plan: a guardian.
The Legal Definition of a Guardian
You may have a general idea of what a guardian is, but do you know how it functions as part of an estate? A guardian is a person who is given legal authority over property or person by a legally binding document or court order. The person over whom a guardian presides is typically unable to act on their behalf either due to age or mental capacity. If you do not have a legal guardian appointed for a child, for example, and you die, that child may become a ward of the state until the court establishes the proper chain of custody.
Types of Guardians in an Estate Plan
There are a few forms of guardians in an estate. Your attorney will help you determine which, if any, fits your current situation.
- A guardian of the property and money
- A guardian for children
- A guardian for an adult
You can choose one person to function as a Guardian of the Estate to perform the other guardian duties as warranted, or you may select multiple. If you choose a different person to be a guardian over your children, that person will have to work together with the Guardian of the Estate to get financial support for the children.
Guardians Role Before Your Death
Once you and your estate planning attorney have decided on what type of guardian(s) you need, the only thing left to do is inform them. This is especially true for the person or persons you have chosen to care for your children after your death. They should be aware that this duty will belong to them upon your death. A guardian doesn’t have any responsibilities before your death.
Get with an estate planning attorney and get help with drafting the documents you need to care for your family after your death.