One of the most important decisions for parents to make regarding their will is the decision of who will act as guardian to their child/children if anything were to happen. This difficult choice comes with many considerations that will hopefully ensure the child or children are placed in the best hands possible to care for them. The person who is entrusted with this important task bears a great deal of responsibility for the child’s wellbeing and is accountable for the child’s medical, educational, social, and most other aspects of life. This decision should not be made lightly and parents should discuss their choice with the potential guardians. Grandparents or other family members are often the first choice for families. While guardians are appointed to anyone under the age of eighteen, those who are at least fourteen have the option to nominate a guardian of their choosing for consideration.
In addition to parents who have passed away often times parents simply cannot care for their children for a variety of reasons and the appointment of a guardian is necessary to ensure that the minor child is cared for. If a parent is unwilling, unable or unfit to act as the minor child’s parent then a guardianship can be granted to an individual, often a family member, who is willing to care for that child. A guardianship is the necessary legal instrument to make sure the needs of the minor children are meet.
A conservator is someone who has been appointed by the court to serve as custodian over the child’s property that he is unable to manage by himself at that age. Unlike a guardian, which is always a person, a conservator can be an agency or a person. The conservator has a duty to responsibly manage any assets in a way that best serve the interests of the child when he reaches maturity. They, just like someone with a fiduciary duty, owe a duty of loyalty and care to the child’s assets that require strict conscientiousness. The Law Office of Caleb A. Petersen, LLC can assist you throughout the guardianship and conservatorship process.