Why Should I Include Guardianship in my California Estate Plan?

It is the job of a child’s parents to take care of them and ensure they have a happy and healthy upbringing. While this is usually the case, life is unexpected and parents cannot always be sure that they will be around for their children. It is because of this that those with minor children who are under the age of 18 should establish an estate plan that includes guardianship. If you wish to create an estate plan and appoint a guardian for your children, contact an experienced California estate planning attorney today for assistance.

What is Guardianship?

If a person has minor children, it is important that they appoint an individual whose job it will be to raise their children and handle any finances for the children in the event that they are no longer around to do so themselves. This is known as guardianship. It is important to note that this can be more than one person, acting as co-guardians together to raise the children.

The state of California recognizes two different types of guardianship:

  • Guardianship of the Person: This refers to the individual who will take physical custody of the children. They are then responsible for providing the basic needs of the children (shelter, food, clothing, education, etc.)
  • Guardian of the Estate: This refers to the children’s physical assets, such as money, bank accounts, and other physical property they may inherit. This individual will oversee and manage the estate. 

One person may fulfill both of these roles as guardian of the person and the estate. In addition to this, it is important to know that the court must approve the request for guardianship. This is to ensure that the individual is stable, in good financial standing, and will act in the best interest of the child. 

Why Would Guardianship be Needed?

Unfortunately, there are numerous different circumstances in which a parent or both of a child’s parents may not be around in their life to take care of them. This can include the death of one or both parents, a divorce, a lawsuit, etc. When this happens, a parent may not be available or appropriate to make decisions regarding the child. 

It is because of this that it is important to have a designated guardian within an estate plan in the event that one of these situations arises. A guardian should be named, in writing, in order to give them priority over anyone else other than the child’s natural parents. Failure to do so can result in other relatives such as grandparents, aunts, or uncles having difficulty deciding who should become guardian. This can not only cause family problems but result in the child being raised by someone the parents did not want.

Contact our Firm

Working with an experienced estate planning attorney, such as Jaci Feldman of the Woodland Hills, California, Law Office of Yacoba Ann Feldman, will ensure that you are taken care of when you need it most.Contact The Law Offices of Yacoba Ann Feldman to schedule a consultation today.