A minor’s legal guardian controls their assets, education, and living arrangements. The guardian’s character also has a tremendous influence on the child’s well-being and the type of adult the child becomes. If you are a parent in Texas, an estate planning attorney can help you understand the issues connected with a minor’s guardianship and include your wishes regarding this important decision in your estate plan.
When Does Minor Guardianship Apply?
Children under 18 may need a legal minor guardian in a variety of situations, including:
- If both parents die.
- If both parents become incapacitated.
- If a child inherits property and a parent needs access to their estate.
The last point requires explanation. Some parents are surprised to find out they do not have automatic access to their child’s inherited property. For example, if a grandparent passes away and leaves a designated account to a minor grandchild, the parents may want to use the funds for the child’s benefit, which requires one of them to be appointed guardian of the minor’s estate.
The legal relationship of guardianship means the guardian takes care of the minor child’s needs, such as healthcare, education, and living arrangements. If a minor child’s last surviving parent designates no guardian in a will, a court usually appoints another close relative, like grandparents or an aunt or uncle, to serve as a guardian for the child.
Filing for Guardianship in Texas
Texas courts appoint a guardian after a legal hearing. A copy of the petition for guardianship goes out to a list of persons including the proposed ward if they are over 14, the proposed ward’s relatives, and the ward’s current care providers. At the end of the process, the court issues Letters of Guardianship to the appointed guardian.
To avoid any unnecessary complications during this process, it is crucial to work with a knowledgeable attorney when filing for guardianship.
Why Include Minor Guardianship Provisions in Your Estate Plan
As a parent, you want to make sure you leave your child under the care of the most trustworthy and capable person available to serve as their guardian if you pass away before your child turns 18.
For example, you may have several siblings but believe one is best suited to act as your child’s guardian. You may designate that preferred sibling as your child’s guardian after you make sure they are ready to assume that responsibility.
Your will should include alternatives to your first choice for guardian. In some cases, it also is important to have a list of people to be excluded as guardian for your child. Talk to the legal team at Anderson Estate Planning about incorporating minor guardianship provisions in your will.
Anderson Estate Planning: Protecting Your Legacy in Dallas, TX
Do you want to provide a secure future for your children, even if you are no longer around? Did your child inherit property and now you need to help them with their estate?
Anderson Estate planning can help you with all legal aspects of uncontested guardianship. Call us at (469) 207-1529 or contact us online to speak with an estate planning lawyer in the DFW area.