How to choose the best legal guardian for your children

As a parent, the care and wellbeing of your child or children is a priority and, as unpleasant as it is to think about, this extends to their care in the event of your or their other parent’s death. This means that naming a good legal guardian is essential, says New Jersey estate planning attorney Frank Campisano – but what exactly does this mean?

Firstly, if you don’t name a legal guardian in your Last Will and Testament, the courts of the State of New Jersey will appoint custody to someone of their choosing. There is no guarantee at all that your child will go to a family member or loved one of your preference, so it’s vitally important that this decision is kept in your hands rather than in those of the court’s.

Secondly, the surviving parent has a right to custody of children if the other parent dies, something that is not always a desirable situation. With the right legal advice, you will be able to plan ahead and nominate the best possible guardian for your child.

Here is some more information on choosing a legal guardian:

  • Legal guardianship applies to children under the age of 18 years old and your chosen guardian must be properly named in your Will in order to claim custody.
  • It’s best if you and the other parent name the same guardian in both your Wills in order to avoid legal complications.
  • Ensure that you also name a back-up guardian in the event that your first choice is unable to take on the responsibility.
  • Remember to specify each individual child under 18 by name in your Will when assigning guardianship, or the court is free to choose guardians for any unnamed children.
  • Specify if you would like your children to live together.
  • You can name co-guardians in your Will, for example, by giving guardianship to a couple rather than an individual.
  • If you are able, it’s a good idea to include financial planning in your Will to assist your children’s guardian in the event that they take on custody of your child.
  • Remember to involve your chosen guardian or guardians in this process. They should be fully informed of your decision and happy to take on this important role.

Straightforward, affordable estate planning with NJ attorneys 

Frank Campisano has over 30 years of experience in New Jersey estate planning law. We can assist you in creating a Last Will and Testament, Power of Attorney and medical directives as well as set up trusts appropriate to your specific needs. Contact Frank today, for expert estate planning advice.

Your elder law guide to guardianship over a senior loved one

As our loved ones grow older, they may become incapable of managing their personal and business affairs. This can leave them vulnerable to scams, ill-advised decisions and the loss of assets. Luckily you can protect your senior loved one through legal guardianship. With legal guardianship a trusted individual is appointed to make personal, financial and medical decisions on behalf of your loved one. Here, elder law attorneys in New Jersey answer frequently asked questions about guardianship.

Is legal guardianship necessary? 

This legal appointment is important for several reasons, most importantly to help a senior loved one to maintain a good quality of life. Financial decisions such as managing investments and paying for home care or nursing are essential, as are decisions about the kind of medical care he or he needs to receive.

Unfortunately, even if your loved one has a spouse who is competent to make these decisions, they cannot legally do so without court ordered guardianship, a Living Will or a Power of Attorney which specifically grants this power to them. This makes this process absolutely essential in cases where a Power of Attorney is not contained in the estate planning documents.

Who should be appointed guardian? 

A guardian should be trustworthy and have your loved one’s interests first in mind above all else. This is because handing over financial, personal and medical control to another person makes your loved one incredibly vulnerable. In New Jersey, the state gives first preference to the spouse of the individual and, if he or she is unable or refuses, then on to an adult child.

How does the guardianship process work? 

This is a complex legal proceeding which generally comprises of the following steps:

  • Filing a complaint in the Superior Court in the county in which the incapacitated individual lives. This must include two separate medical affidavits from physicians who have examined the individual.
  • Filing an assessment of the incapacitated individual’s assets.
  • Attending a court hearing where a judge will oversee the petition to file for guardianship. Here, you will be represented by an attorney who will also have to interview the incapacitated individual and file a report indicating that guardianship is necessary.
  • If guardianship is granted, he or she will have to execute qualification forms and receive letters of guardianship. The guardian may also have to be granted a bond to help ensure against mismanagement of the incapacitated individuals affairs and finances.

Get support and expert knowledge from experienced elder law attorneys

At Sedita, Campisano & Campisano, LLC, we offer compassionate legal support for families and individuals seeking guardianship of a loved one. By working with you each step of the way and representing you and your loved one’s legal rights, we will help deliver a solution which allows you to properly care for your elderly family member. For more information on guardianship, veteran’s benefits, medical directives or other elder law concerns, please contact us today.

What is Legal Guardianship?

by Frank Campisano

Why Do I Need To Establish Legal Guardianship?

Have you given much thought to the welfare of your children should you pass away? Are you taking care of elderly or long term disabled individuals? What will happen to them? Who will look after them? Many people don’t give this enough thought and fail to plan, but you can turn that around. Legal guardianship arrangements are legally binding and by ensuring you have planned for your children’s or dependents lives after your death. This is especially important for children, by doing this properly you can safeguard them from becoming a part of the government adoption/foster care system, a place you really don’t want them to end up.

In the state of New Jersey, the court allows for a parent of a minor to designate or propose legal guardianship of minors in the event of their death (death of both parents) as long as the court approves.

What does legal guardianship mean?

If someone has legal guardianship of your children when you die, it means they will be responsible for their well-being and financial interests. Plainly put, they will become your child’s parents in many respects of the term and have the authority to make decisions which will affect the minor’s life (which will hopefully be in their best interests).

The best way to safeguard your children from becoming part of the government system is to ensure you establish legally binding guardianship for all dependents. Hand in hand with this is having estate planning and a will set in place as early in your life as is possible. This will ensure your property and children will be properly taken care of in the event of anything untoward happening to you.

By having a legal guardianship established, and a last will and testament in place, you can avoid having a court appointed executor or administrator tending to your estate (and your children) as they see fit.

How does an Elder Lawyer Help Setup a Legal Guardianship?

At a minimum, a good elder lawyer will help you draw up the legal documents that establish an ironclad plan for the care of your minor children or other dependents when you die. A really good elder lawyer will help you work through your personal concerns as a trusted adviser and expert so that you are sure all options for care have been considered when designating a legal guardian. This is probably even more important than the legal paperwork, and is something we pride ourselves on, no matter how long it takes to figure out.

Frank Campisano and the team at SCC Legal have established legal guardianships for concerned families and individuals in every possible situation. Don’t leave this all important situation to the winds of chance. Call us today.

Why Do I Need To Establish Legal Guardianship?

Have you given much thought to the welfare of your children should you pass away? Are you taking care of elderly or long term disabled individuals? What will happen to them? Who will look after them? Many people don’t give this enough thought and fail to plan, but you can turn that around. Legal guardianship arrangements are legally binding and by ensuring you have planned for your children’s or dependents lives after your death. This is especially important for children, by doing this properly you can safeguard them from becoming a part of the government adoption/foster care system, a place you really don’t want them to end up.

In the state of New Jersey, the court allows for a parent of a minor to designate or propose legal guardianship of minors in the event of their death (death of both parents) as long as the court approves.

What does legal guardianship mean?

If someone has legal guardianship of your children when you die, it means they will be responsible for their well-being and financial interests. Plainly put, they will become your child’s parents in many respects of the term and have the authority to make decisions which will affect the minor’s life (which will hopefully be in their best interests).

The best way to safeguard your children from becoming part of the government system is to ensure you establish legally binding guardianship for all dependents. Hand in hand with this is having estate planning and a will set in place as early in your life as is possible. This will ensure your property and children will be properly taken care of in the event of anything untoward happening to you.

By having a legal guardianship established, and a last will and testament in place, you can avoid having a court appointed executor or administrator tending to your estate (and your children) as they see fit.

How does an Elder Lawyer Help Setup a Legal Guardianship?

At a minimum, a good elder lawyer will help you draw up the legal documents that establish an ironclad plan for the care of your minor children or other dependents when you die. A really good elder lawyer will help you work through your personal concerns as a trusted adviser and expert so that you are sure all options for care have been considered when designating a legal guardian. This is probably even more important than the legal paperwork, and is something we pride ourselves on, no matter how long it takes to figure out.

Frank Campisano and the team at SCC Legal have established legal guardianships for concerned families and individuals in every possible situation. Don’t leave this all important situation to the winds of chance.  Call us today.

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