ESTATE PLANNING: NAMING A GUARDIAN
For parents of school-age children August means returning to earlier bedtimes, buying new clothes to replace the ones that are suddenly too small, and braving the “back-to-school” supply aisles. Perhaps for you this August also means taking steps to ensure you have named an appropriate guardian for your child in the event both parents die.
WHAT IS A LEGAL GUARDIAN?
A legal guardian is a person, other than a parent, who undertakes responsibility for the physical welfare of a minor child or disabled adult. A guardian has the authority to help meet essential daily living needs for food, clothing, and shelter, including making decisions about the child’s living arrangements and education.
HOW DO I NAME A GUARDIAN FOR MY CHILD?
In Missouri you can name a legal guardian for your child in your Last Will and Testament. Any individual (or couple) over the age of 18 can be named to serve as your child’s legal guardian. You can also include substitute appointments in the event one of the named guardians predeceases you or is unable or unwilling to serve. Should you change your mind at some point in the future about whom you would like to serve as your child’s guardian, your Will should be revisited.
WHY SHOULD I NAME A GUARDIAN FOR MY CHILD?
In the event of the death of both parents the court will determine the appropriate person to serve as your child’s legal guardian. If two or more persons petition the court to serve as a guardian, without a Last Will and Testament naming whom you would prefer to be guardian, the court lacks evidence as to who the parents believe is proper to serve as guardian and may not choose the person you, the parents, would.
Back-to-school time brings activities, excitement, and responsibility for parents. This year it can also bring peace of mind if you choose this time to talk to one of our estate planning attorneys about preparing your Last Will and Testament and ensuring your child will be cared for by the person of your choosing in the event of your death. Please call us at (417) 882-2828 If you would like more information.