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Appointing a guardian for a minor child during probate

When making out a will, most Georgia parents appoint one or more individuals to care for their children after death. Of course, if the other parent survives, he or she would most likely continue to parent the children unless found to be unfit, uninterested or otherwise unable to serve their best interests. If there is any question regarding this issue, it can be dealt with during the probate.

In many cases, the court will approve the guardian appointed in the will. However, there are cases where even the backup guardian does not pass muster in the court's eyes. If that happens, then anyone close to the children may petition to become their guardian. Often, this person is another relative, but it could also be a close family friend.

Once appointed, the court expects the guardian to care for the children as if they were their own. The guardian is tasked with providing shelter, clothes and food and is expected to make decisions that will serve their best interests when it comes to issues such as education, health care and even religion. If the deceased parent left any assets for the benefit of the children, they should be looked after as well. This could be done by the same guardian or by another person.

To make this task easier during the probate process, it would help to ensure that the individual or individuals chosen to take on the care of the children is worthy of the task. He or she also needs to be willing to serve in this capacity as well. Taking on someone else's children is a monumental decision, even for close family members. The less that a Georgia court needs to be involved in the process, the better off the children will be during this undoubtedly difficult time.  

Source:, "In estate planning for your minor children, think beyond just money", Andrew Zashin, Sept. 19, 2017

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