Your will should name the guardian for your minor children


Perhaps the greatest peace of mind that parents of minor children can have is knowing who will take care of their children should something happen to them. Naming a guardian in your last will and testament helps ensure that your choice is appointed. A guardian is legally responsible for the child’s physical care, health, education, and welfare until he or she reaches 18 years of age. This last will include providing the basic needs such as food, clothing, shelter, health care decisions and education choices. The guardian is not responsible to meet the child's financial needs with his or her own money. Many times, a trustee handles those arrangements with money provided by the estate of the deceased parent or parents. The guardian is not paid for his or her services.


Attorney Tom Olsen: John, you're on News 965. Go ahead.

John: Listen, thank you for taking the call.

Attorney Tom Olsen: Sure.

John: Minors, children under 18, my son is 12. If something happens to me and my wife, what options do we have as far as parents leaving someone in charge, and what do we do as far as how you were explaining you can leave your assets and stuff to someone else? Could you list A, B, C, D, E, in that order? Like brother one, brother two, brother three?

Attorney Tom Olsen: Yes.

John: In case something happens?

Attorney Tom Olsen: Absolutely, John. When you have minor children, whether we do a will for you or a trust for you, in there you're going to name who would be the guardian, who would be the parent to your child or children if both Mom and Dad passed away. Typically, you name both a first and second and even a third choice. It could be an individual or it could be a married couple. John, if you want to choose your brother and his wife. There is no doubt that that would be standard procedure when you have minor children in this guardianship, whoever you name, will be the guardian over your children until your child reaches age 18.

Now, as far as your money is concerned, there you'd be setting up a trust. You'd be putting your money in a trust, typically state that that money stays in trust until each child reaches age 25. Prior to age 25, the trustee is using that money to help your child go to college, help them buy a car, et cetera. Then once they reach age 25, they get whatever is left over. Then, John, we're talking about two roles. One is a guardian, who'd be the parent, and two, who'd be the trustee, who would manage the money on behalf of the kids. That guardian and trustee can be the same person, or it could be different people. John, does that answer your question?

John: I think yes, sir. Thank you.

Attorney Tom Olsen: Feel free to come and see us. Now folks, we're going to have to take a break. We'll be back in just a few minutes. My name is Tom Olsen. The name of the show is Olsen On Law. You're listening to News 965.