Guardianships: A Parent's Peace of Mind

The deaths of actress Natasha Richardson and reality star Jade Goody were tragic losses for their families and their fans. Both women, in addition to being admired public figures, were also mothers. Their deaths, and the images of their grieving children, caused many parents nationwide to wonder what would happen to their own children in similar circumstances.

One of the most important elements of an estate plan for all parents is the nomination of guardians for minor children. In their Wills, parents should nominate both a Guardian and an Alternate Guardian, in case the Guardian is unable to serve. The nomination of a Guardian is especially important for single parents and blended families.

Parents should know that the nomination of a Guardian will not terminate the rights of a biological parent. However, there are alternatives available if a biological parent is unfit to care for a child. For example, a parent can name two different people in his or her Will, one to serve as Guardian of the Person, and one to serve as Guardian of the Estate. The first cares for the child, and the second cares for the child’s financial assets. This can be an important tool if the Guardian of the Person is not good with money.

For more information about Guardianships, contact a Stark & Knoll attorney at 330-376-3300 or

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