Legal Counsel for Establishing Guardianships in California
Ensuring the safety and wellbeing of your minor children in your absence is a critical part of the estate planning process. While no one likes to think about the prospect of their children growing up without their parents, this is something that you need to plan for, just in case. Although we all hope these plans never come to fruition, establishing guardianship rights in the event of your death or incapacity is important for your children’s future and your peace of mind. At Schlecht, Shevlin & Shoenberger, A Law Corporation, we help parents throughout California incorporate legal guardianships into their estate plans.
Choosing a Guardian for Your Children
While it is easy to assume that a loving grandparent or elder sibling will simply take responsibility for your children in the event of your death or incapacity, California law understandably imposes various restrictions on guardianship of minor children. Further, when involuntarily thrust into the position of full-time parent, these individuals may not ultimately be fully willing or capable to assume the role. Further still, other relatives may have different ideas about how and by whom your children should be raised, and these types of disputes are rarely good for any of the parties involved.
As a result, establishing the terms of your children’s legal guardianship and communicating with your desired guardians about your wishes are crucial tasks in the estate planning process. The same holds true for establishing conservatorships for mentally, physically and developmentally disabled adults within your care.
A Guardian’s Role and Responsibilities in California
California law provides for two separate forms of legal guardianship: guardianship of the person, and guardianship of the estate.
A guardian of the person will be responsible for your children’s day-to-day care, and for making decisions about their development and education. This individual will effectively step into the role of the parents, taking responsibility for matters such as:
- Food, clothing and shelter
- Medical and dental care
- Physical and emotional growth
The guardian of the estate will be tasked with managing your children’s finances until they reach age 18. This includes investing and managing the assets you leave your children through your estate.
It is possible to appoint one person to both roles, or to appoint different individuals to have decision-making authority over your children’s upbringing and financial management. The attorneys at Schlecht, Shevlin & Shoenberger, A Law Corporation can help you make informed decisions about guardianship, and implement an appropriate plan to provide for your children should you be unable to do so.