Estate Planning and Probate

Estate Planning and Probate

Guardianship of an Estate of a Minor

The loss of a parent is an extremely difficult experience for anyone, especially a minor child. Often, upon the death of a parent, a child becomes entitled to receive a share of their deceased parent’s assets. As minor children cannot legally hold money, this can become a source of serious problems if the parent did not properly create an estate plan.

Shockingly, in most states, a parent of a child is ineligible to serve as the sole guardian of the Estate of a minor. This often comes as a surprise to many parents, who, upon the death of a child’s other parent, learn that they are not entitled to hold or manage the funds that their child is entitled to. If you have children, call our experienced attorneys to make sure your children are protected.

As such, in the situation where a child is entitled to receive funds, it often becomes necessary to appoint a Guardian of the Estate of a Minor who can receive the money and manage it on behalf of the child until the child attains the age of majority. In order to do this, the proposed Guardian must file a petition with the Court seeking to be appointed as the Guardian of the Estate of the Minor. The Court, at its discretion may hold a hearing to determine whether the proposed guardian is an appropriate person or entity to serve. The Court may also require that the Guardian post a bond or require a corporate guardian such as a bank.

In some situations, when a parent knows there is elevated risk of death, such as terminal disease or dangerous professions, it may be appropriate to execute and file a standby guardianship (or in Florida, a pre-need designation of guardian for a minor) with the court.

The path to guardianship may be complex and costly. Our attorneys can assist you through this process with compassion and sensitivity and also help you plan your affairs to simplify the process or avoid the need for a guardianship altogether.

If you are seeking to guardianship for a minor, to set up a free consultation, contact our office by e-mail or for assistance in Pennsylvania and New York call our office at 215-568-4968, for assistance in New Jersey call our office at 609-523-2222, and for assistance in Florida, call our office at 727-538-4178. Evening and weekend meetings can be scheduled at your request.