Nomination of Guardian

In your estate planning documents, do you have plans for guardianship of your minor children should you pass away before they turn 18? You can submit a nomination of guardian to the court with your preference for a guardian for your minor children. You may also submit a petition for guardianship of yourself should you suffer a future incapacity.

Contact the law offices of Jordan & White, LLC, for help with guardianship law on the North Shore of Massachusetts.

When and How To Appoint a Guardian

You must submit a nomination of guardian to the Massachusetts Probate and Family Court. The court will review your nomination and choose whether the person is a good fit to appoint as a guardian of your child or an incapacitated adult.

You can submit your nomination at any time, and the court will appoint the guardian upon your passing or incapacity.

Guardianship for Minor Children

Guardians of minors effectively take over the role of parents for minor children. There are two key roles in the guardianship of minors in Massachusetts:

  • Person guardianship. This guardian has custody of the child and makes decisions about education, religion, healthcare, welfare, after-school activities, nutrition, and more. A guardian with only person guardianship cannot make financial decisions for the child regarding funds in the child’s name.
  • Estate guardianship (conservatorship). The estate guardian manages the child’s finances through the estate left to them by their decedent parent(s).

Guardianship for Adults

In case you wish to name a guardian for yourself in the event of future incapacity, you could also file a nomination of guardian for an adult child or friend to provide care for you should guardianship ever become necessary.

Adult guardians must perform certain duties and uphold a standard of care, including:

  • Upholding the incapacitated person’s autonomous rights
  • Making medical decisions on the incapacitated person’s behalf that are in their best interest
  • Maintaining quality of life activities for the person under guardianship, including social activities, exercise, and recreation
  • Deciding where the incapacitated person will live and how to maintain their standard of living

What If You Don’t Name a Guardian?

If you don’t name a guardian for your minor children or yourself, the Probate and Family Law Court will choose from a list of likely guardians to appoint a guardian when you pass away or become incapacitated. The court may name a separate conservator to manage the minor’s financial decisions until they turn 18 or your finances for care during incapacity.

Someone could also petition the court to appoint them as a guardian. While the person must be at least 18 years old and live in the U.S., no familial relationship with the minor or incapacitated person is required.

East Massachusetts Estate Planning Law Firm

Guardianship in Massachusetts is a complex issue, whether caring for minor children or securing your future for potential incapacity. Contact the law offices of Jordan & White, LLC, for help with the appropriate nomination of guardian forms. Call us today at 978-744-2811 or contact us online to schedule your initial consultation.