Appointing a Guardian: Navigating the Legal Aspect for Loved Ones

Appointing a Guardian: Navigating the Legal Aspect for Loved Ones

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Appointing a Guardian: Navigating the Legal Aspect for Loved Ones

  • By: Marketing Team
  • 13 May 2024

Ensuring the well-being and care of minor children is a paramount concern for parents, especially in unforeseen circumstances where they may be unable to fulfill their parental duties. In the Michigan court systems, children’s well-being is favored above just about everything else.

However, if you have not appointed a guardian, your minor children could be appointed one by the courts in the event of your death—and this is not always the most beneficial option for them. Appointing a guardian and navigating the legal aspects of guardianship is a critical step in safeguarding the best interests of children.

How It Works

Appointing a guardian involves legally designating an individual or entity to assume responsibility for a child's care and decision-making in the event of the parents' incapacity, disability, or death. This process is governed by Michigan law and requires careful consideration of various “best-interest factors,” including the child's welfare, the guardian's suitability, and the parents' preferences.

With the help of an estate planning attorney, you can designate a guardian for your minor children through a legal document known as a guardianship designation or nomination. This document allows parents to express their wishes regarding who should assume guardianship responsibilities, as well as lay out any specific instructions for the care and upbringing of their children.

Probate Courts and Standby Guardianship

It’s important to understand that a guardianship designation is not automatically binding or enforceable without court approval. To formalize the appointment of a guardian, parents must petition the probate court in the county where the child resides and obtain a court order establishing guardianship.

In addition to appointing a guardian, parents may also consider establishing a standby guardianship arrangement. A standby guardian is designated to assume guardianship responsibilities upon the occurrence of a triggering event, such as the parents' death or incapacity. This proactive measure can provide peace of mind and continuity of care for minor children during transitional periods.

By proactively addressing guardianship concerns, parents can ensure the continuity of care and protection for their children, even in unforeseen circumstances. Our team at Striegle assists parents through the entire estate planning process, including guardianship appointment. Please reach out for a complementary consultation where we can learn more about your specific circumstances.