By Harry J. Lenaburg, Esq.
My wife and I recently spent a weekend caring for our four grandchildren, and the thought came to my mind how unprepared many young parents are for the possibility that something may happen to either or both of them. Who will care for their children, and who will watch over their finances?
Consideration must be given to who will physically care for the children in the event of the death, or total incapacity of both parents. Who is it that you believe can best care for and raise your child or children? Often a sibling will be willing and able to do so. Grandparents are almost always willing to do so. Young parents must thoughtfully review their options, and make the choice that in their hearts serves the best interest of their child or children.
A Will is the usual instrument used to state your chosen preference for Guardian and Conservator for your child or children. In the event of your death or incapacity the probate court, which is the court with jurisdiction, will generally honor your nomination.
While the Guardian takes care of the physical needs of the child or children the Conservator is responsible for the finances of the child. Although the same person may be nominated as both Guardian and Conservator, the same person does not necessarily have to be so appointed. Many of us have friends, or family members who are somewhat challenged when it comes to properly handling their finances. Likewise we have friends and family members who are strong in financial areas. Remember, this is your children whose future you are contemplating. Sometimes the best person to care for a child is different from the one who will best watch the finances.
Young parents should be thoughtfully discussing these matters, and reaching a consensus on whom they wish to nominate as the Guardian and Conservator for their child or children. It is important that you verify with the people you wish to nominate for these important positions that they are willing and able to accept the honor and the responsibilities that you are proposing. It is also good practice to propose an alternate Guardian and Conservator, in case for the reason the original nominee or nominees must decline the position due to changes in their circumstances.
The Law Firm of Jessica M. Cotter, P.L.L.C.
18301 N. 79th Ave. Ste f-168
Glendale, AZ 85308