Guardians for Minor Children

Sometimes the unthinkable happens and both parents pass away or become incapacitated while their children are still minors. Without proper planning those children are left for the state to care for. It becomes up to the court system to decide who will raise them, oversee their money, and ultimately make decisions for them in the future.

Mobile Legal Services helps parents take control of who may serve as a guardian for children as a part of our Michigan estate planning services. And, of course, for your convenience our estate planning attorneys can meet with you at your home or other convenient locations — for no additional cost — in the Metro Detroit area including Livingston County, Washtenaw County, Oakland County, Wayne County, and Southern Macomb County.

How to Appoint a Guardian for Your Child in Michigan

In many states, a will is required to appoint the guardians in the event minor children are orphaned, but this is not the case in Michigan. In Michigan, the law indicates that parents can sign a relatively simple document nominating a guardian for their minor children. All parents should have this document in place.

How to Choose a Guardian for Your Child

Factors that parents should consider in determining who would be an appropriate guardian include the following:

  • Do they have a close and personal relationship with the child(ren)?
  • Are the guardians close enough geographically to be able to take the children quickly in an emergency, or should temporary guardians be named?
  • Do the child(ren) have confidence and trust in the person?
  • Would the guardian be able to take all of the children together?
  • Would the proposed guardian be willing to accept the responsibility, and are they responsible enough to have such responsibility?
  • What is the existing family situation of the potential guardian? Is there a potential for conflict within their household?
  • What is the age and health of the potential guardian? Although grandparents are often in the position to love and support the child(ren), it is possible their age will be a prohibitive factor in having them serve.
  • Will there be sufficient assets in the estate to allow the guardian to continue their lifestyle and the lifestyle the child(ren) are accustomed to, without unnecessarily burdening the guardian?
  • Life insurance should always be considered as part of the estate planning process to make sure that the guardian can adequately care for the child(ren) without unnecessary financial strain. Term life insurance policies are often a viable option.
  • Should the guardian also oversee the funds left to the child(ren)? This is a question that takes special consideration.

We're happy to help you document your choice of guardian for your child(ren) — as well as to help you think through these questions and their potential legal and financial effects. Contact Mobile Legal Services to schedule a consultation.

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