Nobody likes to think about the event of dying, least of all having to consider what will happen with your assets and dependents that are left behind. However, planning for the unfortunate but inevitable event of death can relieve a lot of stress and avoid misunderstandings in the future.
A minor, in Florida state, is anyone under 18 years of age. Under Florida Law, there are two dominant types of Guardianships for minors.
Guardianship of the Person
Guardianship of the Person occurs when an individual other than the minor’s biological parents have the authority to make health care, residence and school-related decisions on behalf of the minor.
Guardianship of Property
Similar to Guardianship of the Person, Guardianship of Property refers to the guidance of a minor but specifically in the area of managing the minor’s financial or assets if their inheritance totals a value of more than $15,000. These details are described in Florida Statute 744.301(2) where the legalities of managing a minor’s assets are explained.
How To Stipulate Guardianship
Firstly, it is important to note that all Guardianship matters in the state of Florida require an attorney as a legal requirement. This requirement is necessary to make the decision legal.
The best legal advice that any responsible parent can adhere to is to use the services of an estate planning lawyer and set up an estate plan. This allows parents to establish guardianships through their will in the unfortunate case of death.
One way of establishing Guardianship is to state it in your will. If deciding to go this route, be sure that you have discussed your choices with those involved. Bear in mind that a valid will needs to go through the necessary court process.
If no guardian is specified, the instance of death can become significantly more tense and complicated for those left behind.
Additional Advice When Selecting Guardians:
Selecting a guardian that you trust to help manage your child’s assets is no easy task. Here are a few things to consider when going through the process.
- Name more than one possible guardian – ideally, you should have three alternatives to your first choice.
- Select individuals as guardians as opposed to couples. Unfortunate circumstances, such as death or divorce, can complicate matters unnecessarily.
- Explicitly exclude any family members that you do not wish to fulfill the role of guardians in a confidential letter to be brought forward if anyone challenges your decisions.
- Be sure to name short-term guardians in the instance that your stipulated guardian cannot be reached immediately. This can be added on a list of legally authorized temporary guardians. This is particularly important if your appointed guardian is out of town.
Alternatives to Guardianship of Property
The alternatives to Guardianship of Property, if you prefer to go a different route. One way to leave an inheritance to a minor is through a trust. This will allow the parent to stipulate an age whereby the inheritance becomes available for the minor.
Another option is described in the Uniform Transfer to Minors Act which allows an account to be set up for minors. In this instance, the estate planning document will need to specify that the inheritance is transferred to the account to be paid to the minor upon reaching adulthood.
The cost and complexity of setting up guardianship require a reliable and trusted lawyer who understands Florida’s law.
Rather than waiting for the difficult time of death to occur without preparations, take the first step towards preparing for your child’s future.
Call us at 1-877-815-4560 to book a consultation, or find out more about how Handin Law can help with your estate planning needs.