Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Protecting our Children With Guardianships and Conservatorships

By Harry J. Lenaburg, Esq.

As young parents we were often so busy just taking care of business, working, raising our children, buying a house, that we neglected some very important personal matters.  You know, we would purchase life insurance to protect our families if something happened to us, but neglect that very important issue of who would care for our minor children in the event of the death or incapacity of both parents.

This is a serious discussion for a couple to have, determining who they trust to care for both the physical needs (Guardian) and financial needs (Conservator) of their children.   If you do not nominate the person or persons whom you wish the court to appoint as Guardian or Conservator, then it is possible that the family member whom you would least prefer to care for your children is the person appointed. 

Other obvious considerations include the ability of your chosen Guardian to actually care for the child or children.  By this I mean do they have housing adequate to the task?  Are they willing to take on the responsibility?  Will they allow other members of the family to get to know your children after you are gone?  Many people are in the circumstance where the person or couple who can best care for the child or children may not be very good at handling finances.  There is certainly no problem with appointing different people to be Guardian and Conservator.

Another tip is to designate not only the first choice as Guardian and the first choice as Conservator, but to also have an alternate designated for each, in the event that your primary choices become unable to act in the capacity nominated.  We all want to do what’s best for our children, especially when they are very young.  A will designating your choices for Guardian and Conservator is an important tool in that task.

The Law Firm of Jessica M. Cotter, P.L.L.C.
18301 North 79th Avenue, Suite F-168
Glendale, Arizona 85308

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