What’s Your Legacy?

Attorney Yvette E. Taylor

Selecting a Guardian Might Come With Some Drama

| Jul 30, 2012 | Firm News |


Just before the news broke regarding the guardianship of Michael Jackson’s children, I received this question.Can the selection of guardian for minor children withstand a legal challenge by the grandmother?In this particular situation, a non-relative was chosen by a couple as the guardian of their children.The wife’s mother was not pleased when she found out her daughter’s decision.

Selecting the guardian for your minor children is one reason for having a Will.Even though your selection could be challenged (it’s the American way), it does not mean it will be successful.The courts generally uphold the appointment of the guardian selected by the parents. Any challenge would have to allege and demonstrate that the guardian selected is unfit or unable to properly care for the children.The court considers what is in the best interest of the child.Status as a relative is not a controlling or determining factor.A grandmother does not have a legal right to override the parents’ selection merely because the grandmother prefers to serve or have a relative serve as guardian.Parents are generally in the best position to determine who would be in the best position to care for their children.

That being said, it is wise to have conversations regarding guardianship with those whom you know will be upset with your selection and work through those issues during your lifetime.Further, you should update your selection as circumstances change, including aging, financial stability and interest.It is not in your child’s best interest for them to be embroiled in a legal battle when they have already lost so much.