Guardians of the property or the person of a minor are appointed in probate court proceedings similar to those involving conservatorships, but applying only to persons under 18 years of age. For more information about guardianship proceedings, or how to avoid the need for a court-appointed guardian through estate planning strategies, contact W. Bailey Smith at 949-756-0684.
Representation through Guardianship Proceedings
Probate court guardianship proceedings are required by law in situations where a minor’s parents or existing guardians die, or when the child receives in his or her own name an inheritance or other assets valued at $5,000 or more. Because of the expense of obtaining the order of guardianship and the annual accounting duties, the cost of administering the guardianship can seriously deplete the value of the assets held in the minor’s name.
Trust vs. Will
The need to provide appropriate care for the child and their assets through guardianship can be avoided with a will or trust. A last will and testament can designate guardians for minor children and their property. Parental responsibilities should be entrusted to a close relative.
As an alternative to guardianship, designating a successor trustee in a revocable living trust typically is a better option than giving an 18-year-old full control of his or her inheritance. Under a living trust that holds and manages the assets for the young person to age 25 (or beyond), he or she will have the chance to complete an education and acquire maturity prior to coming into a substantial estate.
To learn more about guardianships, call us at 949-756-0684 for a free consultation in either our Irvine or Long Beach office.