Two recent, highly publicized court proceedings have set the stage for
an important conversation on guardianships. The murder case surrounding
April Jace, and the legal battle regarding visitation with and decision-making authority for
Casey Kasem, are two examples of why it is so important to discuss guardianships as
part of your estate planning process.
The definition of a
legal guardian is a person who has the legal authority and duty to care for the personal
and property interests of another person, the ward. The ward may be a
minor child, as in the case of April Jace's three surviving children,
or an adult, as in the case of Casey Kasem. In both cases, both types
of wards are incapable of caring for their own interests. Done correctly
in conjunction with your estate plan, designating a legal guardian can
help eliminate a great deal of emotional and financial distress, should
you become unable to make decisions.
Guardianship of the Person
In a guardianship of the person, the guardian has full legal and physical
custody of a child/ward, and is charged with making all of the same decisions
that the parents would normally make. The guardian is responsible for
the child's care, is required to provide safety & protection,
to ensure that educational and special needs are met, as well as for the
provision of food, clothing, shelter and supervision. In the event that
a guardian has not been appointed, the court system will look at what
is in the best interest of the child, placing them in the care of someone
deemed capable of providing a safe, stable and loving environment.
In the case of April Jace, the court will likely appoint a legal guardian
from one of several family members currently caring for the three children.
This person will not only be responsible for the physical and financial
responsibility of the children, but will become the court appointed special
advocate for them as the case goes to trial.
Guardianship of the Estate
A guardianship of the estate is specifically responsible for the management
of the ward's income, money or property. Sometimes this person is
the same as the guardian of the person, but you may also designate two
separate people. This type of guardianship is only needed when the child
has received or will at some future date receive, valuable property such
as real estate, money or a company.
For additional general information on guardianships, visit the Superior
Court of California website for the County of Orange by clicking
Mortensen & Reinheimer, PC is a professional law corporation that provides
a complete range of estate planning services including trusts, wills,
powers of attorney and more. Our attorneys will work with you to develop
and implement an estate plan specifically designed for you, your family,
your business, your property, and your wishes. We use every legal tool
at our disposal, along with our extensive real-world experience, to develop
personalized estate plans for every client.
So plan ahead and call us today for your consultation. With Mortensen &
Reinheimer, PC at your side, together we can secure your estate for the future.
To Learn More About Mortensen & Reinheimer, PC, click
Real People. Real Solutions.