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Guardianships for minor children: an important aspect of estate planning, P.1

For many people, ensuring that the needs of their children are met is one of the most important reasons to get an estate plan done. There is no question that appointing guardians for children is a very important question, and one that shouldn't be taken lightly.

Couples with minor children should know that if both parties die without a will, a court will have to appoint an administrator for their estate. That administrator will be in charge of selecting a person to manage the children's inheritance and to act as the children's guardian. And there is no guarantee, obviously, that that person will make the same decision the couple would have made. Much better to plan ahead and make those decision oneself.

When selecting a guardian, it should be remembered that there are two types of guardianship to address: one for the children's care and upbringing, and another for their property. One person or a couple may be selected to fulfill both functions, or different persons may be selected for each function. Each minor child can have a separate guardian or guardian, or they can all share the same guardians or guardians. These functions are known as Guardian of the Property and Guardian of the Person

A Guardian of the Property is empowered to make decisions with respect to all matters related to the children's financial well-being. A guardian of the person has control over the day to day decisions regarding the care of the children. These decisions include things like where the children will live, which school they attend, and activities in which they will be involved.

In our next post, we'll continue looking at this topic, particularly what considerations go into making a guardian selection.

Source: nj.com, "Your Legal Corner: Children and inheritance," Victoria M. Dalton, January 22, 2012.

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