A child is considered a minor until he or she reaches age 18, at which point they are considered an adult and are capable of making legal decisions on their own. In the event that you have a minor child under the age of 18, naming a guardian in your will is one way to ensure that your child is cared for by a person that you trust and someone who is capable of serving in this role in the event that something happens to you and the other parent prior to the child reaching adulthood.
Reviewing or determining your choices for guardian of your minor child is an important step in your estate planning process. A guardian is an individual to whom the official legal care of your child is transferred if both parents pass away.
Naming a guardian in your will is a crucial act and is not one that is meant to be only sentimental. You are making a legal decision about the party who will care for your child as if they were that child’s parent until your child is no longer a minor. Guardians perform all duties of a parent, including decisions about a child’s religious teachings, medical care, education and upbringing, so it is critical that you choose someone with whom the child ideally has some form of relationship and a person who you trust to care for your minor child in this way.
In the event that if the individual named in your will is not the child’s surviving parent, the wishes could be overwritten in court and custody may be offered to the remaining parent in the event that the judge feels it is the best circumstance for your child. Decisions relating to guardianship when it is contested in this type of manner could lead to additional challenges in court.
Courts are instructed to make decisions regarding minor children in the best interests of the child in which they will consider numerous factors in arriving at this decision. To ensure there’s a plan for your family, work with an estate planning attorney in New Hampshire.