Guardians & Conservators
One of the more difficult aspects of estate planning is choosing a guardian for your minor children. We tend to view all other potential “parents” for our children very critically, often to the detriment of making this crucial decision.
In the event of your untimely demise, the natural guardian for your children would be their other parent. If the other parent also should happen to be deceased, then the probate court would look to your Will for any nominated Guardians.
A Guardian is appointed by the Probate court to essentially have custody and act in a parental role for your children. The court will retain jurisdiction and monitor the guardianship until the children reach age 18.
If needed, a Conservator may also be appointed to manage any money left for the minor children. The Conservator may be the same person as the Guardian or a different person.
While it may be very difficult to select a Guardian and/or Conservator for your children, the alternative is to leave the selection process entirely in the hands of the Probate court. This opens the door for disputes among relatives, delays as the court evaluates potential Guardians, and leaves the children in an uncertain state for a longer period of time.