Designating a Preneed Guardian for your Minor Child in Florida
Designating a preneed guardian for your minor child is one of the most important things a parent can do. A designation of preneed guardian is a legal document that permits you to choose the individual who will care for your children if you pass away. You can only choose a guardian for minor children. In Florida, most people use a will to designate the preneed guardian of a minor.
How does a will designating a preneed guardian for a minor work?
In the event you pass away and have minor children that survive you, the court will appoint a guardian for the minor children. If you have designated a preneed guardian in your will, the court will give preference to the individual or individuals that you have chosen. A circuit court judge must confirm the guardian appointment. The preneed guardian will need to file a petition with the Court and must be represented by a guardianship lawyer. The role of the Court is to confirm that the proposed guardian meets Florida’s guardianship requirements and that the guardian it is in the best interests of your child.
What if I Designate more than one preneed guardian?
There are multiple ways in which a will can designate a preneed guardian for minor children. The first way is name two individuals to serve jointly; such as a husband and wife. The husband and wife can be co-guardians and would have to act together. Your child would have two guardians in this situation.
Another way you may to name more than one preneed guardian is to name them in successon. This creates an initial guardian and one or more sets of backup guardians for your child. A backup guardian is someone you appoint to be the guardian in case your first designated guardian is unable or unwilling to act as the guardian. For example, you name your mother as your child’s preneed guardian and your sibling as a backup guardian. Your mother would have priority, and your sibling would only be eligible to serve as your child’s guardian if your mother did not act as the guardian.
What if the backup preneed guardian petitions the Court first?
In the example above, your sibling asks the court to appoint them as the guardian of your minor children before your mother. Your mother agrees your sibling serving as the guardian. What will the court do? The answer depends. The Court will look at what is in the best interests of the child and whether your sibling meets all Florida Guardianship requirements.
If your mother did not agree, she could petition the court and assuming everything else being equal, your mother would have the preference. Untilmately the court will use the best interest of the child to determine who they choose.
For more information on why designating a preneed guardian for your minor is important and how to designate a preened guardian, contact the Law Office of David M. Goldman, PLLC. A Jacksonville Estate Planning Attorney can also help you determine other Estate Planning needs you may have. A Jacksonville Guardianship Attorney at the Law Office of David M. Goldman, PLLC can help you petition the Court to become a guardian.