Appointing a Guardian for Minor Children in Florida
In the unfortunate event that a child becomes orphaned, Florida law requires that the Florida courts appoint a legal guardian over the child for the child’s welfare and to manage the child’s physical and financial assets. The courts first search for next of kin and relatives of the child to appoint as a suitable guardian. If a relative cannot be located, the courts can appoint an attorney to act as a guardian, or a child’s foster parent can apply for legal guardianship.
The court will always look to the parents’ legal will and estate plan to determine if the parents have explicitly named an individual as guardian. If the parents’ selection is named, the court will uphold the parents’ choice and appoint the named individual as the child’s legal guardian. If no selection is identified, the court will proceed with the next of kin identification process, which can be lengthy and time-consuming for all parties. The attorneys at Bubley & Bubley, P.A. can assist parents drafting wills and guardianship documents for their minor children, ensuring children are protected and well cared for.
How Minor Guardianship Works & How to Choose a Guardian
Our lawyers walk clients through the process of drafting guardianship documents, setting up a trust on the child’s behalf, and setting conditions for the ward or guardian to follow. Wards work in collaborating with an attorney trustee to administer funds through the estate. Every year, wards must recertify expenses they have utilized on the child’s behalf, such as healthcare premiums, childcare expenses, cost of living, food, clothing, and school supplies. This is to ensure that funds designated for the child’s use are spent on the child alone.
When you choose a guardian for your child, you have several options and items to discuss. Consider how you would want your child to be raised in your absence. Is geographic location important, should the child remain at the same school, in public school or private school? Is it important that the child have an upbringing in the church or that your belief systems continue to be taught to the child? What about extracurricular activities, travel and holiday traditions?
Think about who among your family and friends is best fit to care for your child, can maintain a stable living environment for the child, is trustworthy, and is willing to oversee your child’s trust, estate and guardianship duties. Next, consider speaking with the potential guardian about your desires prior to naming them in your will. You also want to think about naming an alternate guardian in the event your first choice is unable or unwilling to be a ward for your minor child.
Call Bubley & Bubley, P.A. for Your Estate Planning & Guardianship Needs
While many parents do not like to contemplate what would occur if they were gone, if you have small children or teenagers, it’s crucial you dedicate some time to appointing a guardian on their behalf. It is the only way to ensure your wishes are enforced and that your children are protected and provided for in your absence, in accordance with your conditions. Call the Tampa family attorneys at Bubley & Bubley, P.A. today for assistance in these matters.