Guardian or Conservator Nominations for Children

When a child under 18 has no living or competent parents to care for them, a probate court may protect the minor’s interests by nominating a guardian. This nomination is a default measure that does not necessarily answer the child’s or their parents’ wishes.

The attorneys at Jordan & White, LLC, serving the North Shore of Massachusetts, can help you create an estate plan that appoints a suitable guardian for your minor children or file for guardianship of a minor family member. Call us at (978) 744-2811 for reliable legal help with guardian/conservator nominations for children in Massachusetts.

When Does a Minor Child Need a Guardian in Massachusetts?

Guardian or conservator nominations for children may be necessary if the child’s legal parents:

  • Are no longer living
  • Are struggling with a long-term debilitating illness
  • Have abandoned the child
  • Are unfit to care for the child because of violence, neglect, or addiction

A petition for guardianship passes through a probate court in the child’s county of residence. The court-appointed guardian must serve the petition on interested parties, including the child’s closest relatives, the child themself if over 14, and any other guardian or conservator of the child.

The Duties of a Guardian in Massachusetts

Just like natural parents, guardians for minor children are responsible for all the child’s needs, including:

  • Food and housing
  • Medical care
  • Education
  • Financial management

The guardian may spend the child’s own funds (for example, money the child had inherited from a deceased parent) on essentials like education and healthcare. In case the child inherits a substantial estate, the court may appoint both a guardian and a conservator to manage the child’s financial assets.

Guardians must submit an annual report, which specifies the minor’s current situation and any significant changes that have happened during the year.

Why You Should Appoint a Guardian for Your Child

By appointing a legal guardian for your children, you protect their interests in case of your death or incapacity. Naming a guardian helps ensure that, if the worst should happen, your children would pass into the care of a capable person whom you trust to meet their needs.

A probate court’s guardian and conservator appointment may not reflect your wishes. For example, both your brother Tom and your sister Mary could step in as guardians for your children, but you might believe Mary to be better suited for undertaking this responsibility.

The estate planning attorneys at Jordan & White, LLC, can help you draft a valid will that appoints a guardian you trust.

Jordan & White, LLC: Create a Comprehensive Estate Plan to Protect Your Children

When life doesn’t go as planned, your estate plan can serve as a safety net that protects your minor children’s interests. Our team at Jordan & White, LLC, can help you safeguard your children’s future by drafting valid estate planning documents that name a suitable guardian.

We can also help you petition for guardianship if a family member under 18 needs your protection.

Call us at (978) 744-2811 or contact us online to learn more about guardian/conservator nominations for children on the North Shore of Massachusetts.