One of the many concerns that parents have is the future care of their children, both physical custody and financial oversight, in the event of the parents’ death. This is an issue that the parents should discuss in depth and for which they should make contingent arrangements.
One of the steps to take is the preparation of a Nomination of a Pre-Need Guardian for a Minor. In this document, the parents can specify the person(s) (and alternates) who they would like to serve as guardian for the children in the event of the parents’ death or incapacity. Such guardian, once appointed by the Court, shall have all the rights and obligations necessary to care for the child and his/her property. The parents can also state the names and reasons for not nominating someone as well. Ultimately, a court will make the decision regarding such guardianship using all the information available to the Court, including the wishes and concerns of the parents expressed in the Nomination even though such Nomination is not binding on the Court.
In families with divorced parents, one parent may have strong feelings regarding custody by the other parent in the event of death. While the Court will generally not deny physical custody of a child to the other natural parent unless there is significant cause (such as, poor health, drug abuse, and the like), the Court may designate a different person to have control of the child’s money. Use of the Nomination document to state your concerns regarding the other parent can help make the Court aware of your concerns so that it can better protect the minor’s interests.