Guardianships Matters for Minor Children and Vulnerable Adults

Minor guardianships are used to provide legal authority for adults other than the parents of a minor to take care of them. There are two types of guardianships for minor children, limited and full.

Limited guardianships are created when a custodial parent consents to someone else (usually a family member) to have authority and control over a minor child. Limited guardianships can be used when a parent is unable to care for a child for many reasons including a parent moving out of the area for work and the child wishes to remain to finish school, or if the parent is unable to care for the child due to mental issues or substance abuse concerns. This type of guardianship can be temporary or for a term of years.

A full guardianship is when the minor child has no available custodial parent due to death of the custodial parents or removal of the custodial parent due to incarceration or other reason and another concerned person becomes legally responsible for the child.

An adult guardianship is used when an individual is impaired by mental illness, mental deficiency, physical illness or disability, chronic use of drugs, chronic intoxication or other cause so that they lack sufficient understanding or capacity to make or communicate informed decisions and need someone to make such decisions for them. Talking with a legal professional will help determine whether a guardianship is appropriate based on your specific circumstances.

Trust and Estate Planning (Including Wills, Medical and Financial Powers of Attorney and Planning in the Event of Death or Disability)

Estate planning encompasses a wide range of issues and provides individuals with the means to have more control of finances, healthcare and guardianship of minor children or themselves, in the event a client becomes disabled or predeceases their children.

An estate plan also provides security to loved ones and provides a guide for important financial decisions for future generations.

Many people ask, why do I need an estate plan? Won’t my family just handle everything? Can’t I just write something out? The answer is that estate planning is important for everyone, regardless of the size of your estate. The costs and procedure to settle an estate without a properly advised estate plan can be astounding. Further, lack of planning can result in procedural delays, involvement with the Probate court and is fraught with pitfalls and unnecessary costs to family members.

Clients are always advised to utilize an experienced attorney to assist with an estate plan to avoid confusion and personalize the plan to each client’s needs.