Naming a Guardian for Minor ChildrenNaming a Guardian for Your Children

If you have any children under the age of 18, naming a guardian is a vital component of your estate planning process. In this article, we will go over what happens when you do not name a guardian for your children, how to name one, and questions you need to consider while doing so.

No Planning

If you have no type of planning in place, it will be up to the court to decide who cares for your children. Typically, this will be the closest living family member, which may not be someone you trust. If you have no living family, the court may name someone you do not even know.

The person the court names as the guardian may also be the one controlling the money. If this person is not looking out for the best interest of your children, it may have a very negative effect on your children’s inheritance. It may be severely depleted, or there may be nothing left at all by the time they are of age.


Guardian Verses Conservator

When choosing who to name as the guardian it is important to note that the person who cares for the child and the person who care for the money are two separate appointments. A guardian is who cares for the physical well-being, whereas a conservator is who cares for the money. You can choose to have them be the same person or two separate people. If you have a trust, the trustee will be the one who controls the money. Again, you can choose to have this be the same person as the guardian or a different one.

Questions to Consider

Name a guardian is a very important appointment. When considering who to name these are several important questions you should ask yourself. Such as:

  • Will they be willing to care for my children?
  • Do they have the maturity and stability necessary?
  • Do you have any concerns regarding their age and/or health?
  • How far do they live from you?
  • How many children do they have of their own?

These questions may help you to narrow down your options. Once you reach your decision, it is important that you ask that person if they are will do be the guardian. You may also want to name an alternate, in case your first choice does not work out.

Additional Considerations

Besides the above questions, there are some additional factors you may want to consider before naming a guardian. You may want to think about the size of their current home. Would they have enough room for your children? If not, would they need extra funds from your estate to upsize? Or would you want to provide for them to move into your home? If so, you would need to decide if you would want your estate to cover some of the bills such as the mortgage, utilities, taxes, or repairs. You may also want to think about the same type of things regarding automobiles. You may also want to consider whether you want to compensate your guardian for their services and if so, how much.

How to Name Your Guardian

In Arizona, to name your guardian, you use a document called Nomination of Guardian and/or Conservator. This document formally names who you wish to care for your minor children. It is an integral part of a complete estate plan. At Wealth Guardian Legal Documents, all our estate planning packages contain this document. If you need help with estate plan you can contact us and set up an appointment by clicking here.