You may already know the role a guardian plays in someone’s life. This person, who will be established by the court, helps to manage the affairs of a minor or a person who is otherwise incapacitated and unable to make their own sound decisions. Did you know that you can designate a guardian—what’s called a “preneed guardian”—ahead of time, in case you ever need one?
We’re exploring this legal concept below in a brief FAQ.
What is the role of a preneed guardian?
The key thing to remember about a preneed guardian is all in the name. A preneed guardian doesn’t have any duties or special responsibilities unless you need them to, should you become incapacitated and no longer have the ability to act on your own behalf.
How do I establish one?
Before designating a preneed guardian, think about who that person should be. Ideally, your preneed guardian would be someone you trust to act on your behalf with your best interests in mind—this can be a friend, family member, etc. … whoever it is that can best handle your affairs should you ever need them to do so.
You can designate a preneed guardian in your estate plan. This is essentially letting the courts know who you prefer to serve as your guardian in the event that you ever need one. While the courts will generally abide by your wishes, your preneed guardian may not be able to serve if they are unqualified to do so in the eyes of the law. (To prevent your preferred preneed guardian from being declared unqualified—thus leaving you without a say in the matter—you can even declare alternate choices in your plan.)
Your estate attorney will help you define your choice within your estate plan.
Who can establish a preneed guardian?
You can designate a preneed guardian for yourself… but did you know that you can also select one for your minor child as well? Nominating a guardian for minor children allows you to select a person you trust to serve as your child’s guardian should you not be able to.
Finally, many people ask if they should designate a preneed guardian in their estate plan. While you hope that you will never need a guardian to act on your behalf, this legal measure is just another means of having a say in how you live and how your affairs are handled if you can no longer do it yourself. While it may not be pleasant to think about, designating a preneed guardian for you or your child can give you peace of mind, knowing that your needs and wishes will be carried out by someone you trust. For this reason, virtually anyone can benefit from selecting this type of guardian in their estate plan.
We hope that our FAQ helped to answer some of your questions about designating a preneed guardian—but we know you may have more! If you want to learn more about the process or have questions about how to designate a preneed guardian yourself, please call our office at 386-868-3083 today.