Naming a Guardian for Children

Naming a Guardian for Children In Minneapolis

Protecting Your Loved Ones in Minneapolis, St. Paul, and Throughout Minnesota

Do you know what would happen to your children if you were to suddenly be unable to communicate or pass away? Who would take care of them in the short-term and long-term? Who would provide for their immediate needs? Who would make any pressing decisions about their care?

Many people associate estate planning with wealth preservation and property distribution. Estate planning encapsulates a variety of critical tools, including those that can help parents protect their children.

Our experienced team of Minneapolis estate planning lawyers at Guttman Law can assist you with all elements of child protection planning in Minneapolis. We are familiar with how to effectively prepare for a wide range of scenarios and outcomes and can help you address any concerns that you might have. We also assist families with creating protection plans for young adults.

Give your children the plan that they deserve. Schedule a free initial consultation by calling (612) 324-4055 or contacting us online.

Why You Need a Child Protection Plan in Minnesota

When creating your estate plan, you will no doubt include provisions intended to provide for and protect your children. Your last will and testament gives you the opportunity to name a guardian that will care for your minor children should you pass away. You can choose to name your child or children as beneficiaries of assets in your will. Trusts can also be designed to provide for your children throughout their lives, including after they become legal adults.

Updating your estate plan to include your children in these estate planning tools is a good first step, but they will not necessarily provide your children with complete protection should the unthinkable occur. A strong child protection plan will need to thoroughly consider the realities of what could happen if you suddenly became incapacitated or passed away.

Consider a scenario where you are abruptly no longer able to care for your children. Though you formally named a guardian for your children in your will, that guardian will need to ready their affairs and travel to Minnesota before they can begin to care for them. In the meantime, without more of a plan in place, your children will likely temporarily be placed with Child Protective Services instead of a trusted loved one.

There is also the possibility that someone might object to your chosen guardian and initiate a protracted and damaging court battle. A judge will ultimately choose who will raise your children and may make a decision that is inconsistent with your wishes.

How We Help Protect the Future of Your Children in Minnesota

Through proactive child protection planning in Minneapolis, we can help address all of your children’s potential needs and work to avoid unnecessary conflict or ambiguity should a crisis arise. Our planning process involves listening to your concerns and helping you understand the tools that are available to you.

In building your child protection plan, our attorneys can assist you with implementing:

  • First Responder and Temporary Guardian Designations. A will lets you name a guardian that is intended to take care of your minor children until they become adults. A long-term guardian does not account for what will happen to your children in the short-term. First responder designations authorize trusted individuals to provide immediate shelter and care to your children until your chosen temporary guardian can arrive. A temporary guardian can continue to care for your children until your permanent guardian selection is confirmed by the court. We can assist you with nominating multiple first responders so that your children have coverage in a variety of scenarios.
  • Instructions for Guardians and Caregivers. Guardians must be approved by a court, even if you appointed one for your minor children in your will. Caregivers for your children can be authorized without express court approval. The designation allows trusted individuals to make decisions about a child’s educational and medical needs. Authorizing at least one caregiver for your children can help create a buffer if there is any issue in confirming your choice of guardian. You should then consider providing clear written instructions for both guardians and caregivers. These instructions should outline best practices for caring for your children, any specific needs that will need to be addressed, and any final wishes that you expect to be honored.
  • Medical Powers of Attorney. Typically, parents will make decisions about their children’s medical care. Should you become incapacitated or suddenly pass away, however, there may be a period where your children do not yet have a confirmed guardian but do have pressing medical needs. A power of attorney allows an appointed agent to make decisions on a person’s behalf. Parents can designate a medical power of attorney for their minor children. In situations where you are unable to advocate for your minor children’s medical needs, the appointed medical power of attorney can act on your behalf.
  • Letter of Fiduciary Duties for Short-Term and Long-Term Guardians. You will more than likely leave assets to your children that will need to be carefully managed until they come of age. In assuming a short- or long-term guardianship, your appointed guardian accepts responsibility to honor the fiduciary duties owed to your children. Though it is unlawful for a guardian to intentionally breach their fiduciary duties, you can help guide their efforts through a letter that outlines and explains the assets that they will be handling on behalf of your children and any instructions for their management.
  • Confidential Exclusion of Guardians. Guardianship designations made in a will can be contested and could result in your children being placed in the care of someone you do not believe is fit. A confidential exclusion letter can allow you to identify one or more individuals that you explicitly wish to be excluded from consideration should there be any questions of who will assume guardianship of your children. In this letter, you can identify why you believe the person or persons are unfit. You can also execute the letter privately to avoid any discomfort or embarrassment.

Child Protection Plans for Young Adults in Minnesota

When a child turns 18, they become a legal adult in the eyes of the law. Though they may turn to you for help and guidance, young adults can make their own medical, financial, and legal decisions.

With these new freedoms come new risks. If your young adult child becomes seriously injured and is not able to communicate, you will not be able to act on their behalf without first going to court. We offer child protection planning in Minneapolis for young adults that work to address these types of scenarios.

We can assist your young adult children with:

  • Advanced Healthcare Directives. If your young adult child becomes incapacitated and hospitalized, you will not automatically be able to make decisions about their medical care. An advanced healthcare directive allows your young adult children to outline preferred methods of medical treatment should they become unconscious, terminally ill, or otherwise unable to communicate. They can also appoint a medical power of attorney that can assist in making decisions on their behalf. Many young adult children appoint one or both of their parents to serve in this capacity.
  • Durable Powers of Attorney. As they enter young adulthood, your child will likely start opening financial accounts and need to pay bills on their own for the first time. If they were to become incapacitated, you will not be authorized to pay these bills or handle other financial or legal affairs without their permission. Your adult children can appoint you or another trusted loved one as a durable power of attorney that can act in their stead in emergency scenarios.
  • HIPPA Authorization. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) is designed to prevent the unauthorized distribution of medical records, but it can also serve as an obstacle to medical powers of attorney. Some hospitals and medical providers refuse to release critical information unless an agent has express HIPPA authorization. If you have been designated as your young adult child’s medical power of attorney, you should also encourage them to sign a HIPPA authorization that allows you to procure their medical records as necessary.

Our experienced team of estate planning attorneys at Guttman Law can work to help your children understand the importance of estate planning from a young age. We can work together to identify what tools you and your loved ones need to prepare for a variety of scenarios and help you implement the appropriate documents.

Get started on your child protection plan today. Contact us online or call (612) 324-4055 to discuss your options with our team.

The Guttman Approach

What Makes Us Different
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    We are here to support our clients throughout their estate planning journey.

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