Understanding Florida Minor Guardianships
You and your husband recently became parents to a baby girl. While you are immersed in the life of raising a newborn, your relatives keep mentioning the importance of a life insurance policy and minor guardianship. You want your sister to care for your child in the event of an emergency. Is it really necessary to draft guardianship paperwork? What’s the difference between a custodian and a guardian anyway?
Understanding Minor Guardianship
In Florida, a potential guardian must file a petition with the court of jurisdiction in order to serve on behalf of a minor child. In some cases the court might assign a guardian for the child’s day to day care and a custodian for the child’s finances. Parents can nominate a potential guardian in their last will and testament and can also exclusively indicate who they do and do not want to care for their children should something happen to them. Beyond a last will and testament, a family can also draft a specific guardianship document or establish a trust for the benefit of their child should they have special needs.
Petitioning for Emergency Guardianship
In some cases, petitioning for emergency guardianship may be necessary. If both parents suddenly passed away without leaving instructions for a potential guardian, a child may be placed into foster care temporarily. Extended family members are not automatically granted guardianship rights unless a family member was previously named in a parent’s last will and testament. Rather, the loved one must petition with the court of jurisdiction. They must identify their existing relationship with the child and affirm they are not receiving a monetary benefit from petitioning to become a guardian. Sometimes multiple family members petition over the same child. This is unfortunate because it can lead to turmoil, but ultimately the judge will make a decision in the best interest of the child. You can eliminate the need for dispute about your child’s welfare in the event of an emergency by selecting a guardian and substitute guardian now.
Contact Our Attorneys at Strategic Counsel Law Group Today
If you recently added a new member to your family or are just beginning to work on the estate planning process, you should dedicate some time to thinking about potential guardians for your minor child. The goal is to never need one, but you should prepare in advance to secure your child’s future. Choosing a person you trust now can give you peace of mind knowing your children would be safe and protected if you were no longer there. Our Tampa estate planning attorneys at Strategic Counsel Law Group understand this process can be confusing and overwhelming, but it does not have to be. We provide holistic estate planning services for all families and can help you prepare for all possible outcomes. Call today to schedule a consultation.