When creating an estate plan, parents may need to consider who would care for their minor children in the event they are unable to, usually through death or incapacity.
In California, there are several steps to create a guardianship, which is a legal arrangement where a responsible adult is appointed to care for a minor child and make decisions on their behalf.
If the parent is incapacitated or deceased, the proposed guardian can petition the court and include detailed information about why they are requesting guardianship and information about the minor child. Once the petition is filed, the petitioner will need to notify all interested parties.
The court may appoint an investigator to ensure that the guardianship is in the best interest of the child. Then, the court will hold a hearing and if the judge determines that the guardianship is appropriate, it will issue a court order appointing the guardian. This order outlines the guardian’s responsibilities.
Reporting to the court
Usually, the court will require the guardian to submit regular reports to the court to update it on the child’s well-being and financial matters. The court will review the guardianship periodically to ensure it still should be in place.
Once the child reaches adulthood, the guardianship can be terminated. Before that time, it can be modified as needed if circumstances change. In some situations, it may be necessary for the court to appoint a new guardian if the current guardian can no longer serve.
There is help available to navigate this process.