The Role of Guardianship in Estate Planning

On behalf of The Law Office of Wickersham and Bowers posted in Estate Planning on Monday June 17th, 2024.

Estate planning is a critical process involving the transfer of your assets and estate after you pass away. Writing a will or setting up a trust can help avoid conflicts between beneficiaries after death. Estate planning involving minors or incapacitated beneficiaries includes the nomination of a guardian. You or the court may appoint a guardian to care for your children when you pass away. A guardian is a custodian who oversees a deceased’s estate on behalf of beneficiaries, protecting their interests. Here are the roles of guardianship in estate planning:

Managing Inheritances and Assets

A guardian oversees the distribution and management of your property and assets on behalf of your minor or incapacitated heirs after you pass away. In most cases, the guardian is responsible for managing their ward’s finances, assets, and property until the beneficiary turns 18. Guardianship for incapacitated adults ends when the beneficiary regains their ability to manage their inheritance. Only the court can settle, close, or extend the guardianship after addressing all pending business.

Making Decisions on the Beneficiaries’ Needs and Well-Being

Guardianship in estate planning is not just about managing the deceased’s property and assets on behalf of the beneficiaries. It also involves making critical decisions about the beneficiaries’ education, healthcare, and upbringing. Guardians have a duty of care. The appointed guardian caters to the ward’s welfare and overall well-being, aligning with the deceased’s wishes and preferences. For this reason, choosing the right guardian is more critical than ever.

Providing a Status Report

A guardian is responsible for executing your estate in line with your wishes. Most guardianships have guidelines specifying the management of your estate and the guardian’s limitations. With this in mind, the law requires guardians to provide annual reports of the ward’s estate, financial accounts, and well-being to the court or relevant legal party to reinforce transparency.

Get in Touch With Us

Our dedicated attorneys at Wickersham and Bowers provide personalized estate planning solutions aligning with your needs. Our guardianship lawyers offer expert guidance when appointing a guardian for your estate. We can also help you prepare legal documentation, ensuring guardians do not overstep their limitations and that beneficiaries receive their rightful inheritance when you pass away. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with our team.

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