Guardianship is a legal relationship, through a Probate Court procedure, where the court appoints a legal guardian. A legal guardian is someone other than a biological parent who has been appointed with legal custody of a child in the state of California.
Guardianship petitions can be filed by family members, friends, foster parents, and any other non-parent seeking the appointment.
The guardian can have physical and legal custody of the child; this is called Guardianship of the Person, and they could be appointed to manage the child’s estate; this is called Guardianship of the Estate.
A guardian is generally appointed at a guardianship hearing when parents with minor children have died and there is no one legally named and empowered to care for the minor child. The courts look to the person applying for guardianship with great scrutiny to make sure the appointment is in the child’s best interest.
The question is; when should guardians be named? You want to name persons that YOU want to care for your children, and name persons that you do not want to care for your children, in case the unthinkable happens.
You should identify who you would like to be guardians of your children before you become incapacitated and or die. You want to name the person (s) the court should consider to be the guardians of your children.
Having A Will Does Not Protect Your Kids if the Unthinkable Happens to You!
We are specially equipped to meet the unique planning needs of families with minor children, to make sure their kids are totally protected. Unlike traditional estate planning lawyers who only focus their planning on the needs of high-worth people, we are attuned to the concerns of parents and counsel our clients on issues such as choosing a guardian, how to best provide for long term expenses, and those related to blended families. We are also one of a limited number of firms that offer a Child Protection Plan, which provides for the maximum protection of minor children.
What is a Child Protection Plan?
A Child Protection Plan is a set of instructions, legal documents which you need to have if you have kids at home who count on you for their well-being and care.
If you are in an accident, your Child Protection Plan will make sure your children are never taken into the custody of Child Protective Services because the police don’t have clear instructions from you and that your children are raised by people you choose, not someone chosen by the State.
Why do I need one?
If you are a mom or dad with children at home under the age of 18, you need a Child Protection Plan because if you don’t have one and you are in an accident, when the police show up at your house and find your kids home alone or with a babysitter, they have no choice but to call in Child Protective Services and have your kids removed from your home until they can figure out what to do. And that is just the short-term.
For their long-term care, your children would be at the mercy of an overcrowded state court system that could never determine what is in the best interest of your child as well as you can. A Court would make the decision about who should raise your kids. It is very likely that a Court would not choose the same person or people you would choose.
Guardianships are very complex. It is important that you hire an experienced Law firm to represent you in these matters. We at copenbarger & Copenbarger LLP are here to help you.