By: Martin M. Shenkman, CPA, MBA, JD

A guardian is a person in a position of trust, a fiduciary, charged with the management of the person or property of a minor or incompetent (or both). A guardian can be appointed by a court to protect someones interest (guardian ad litem) or under your will for a minor child. When naming a guardian in a will for your child, consider a number of points. You might wish to set up a trust for the child and have someone independent of the guardian be a trustee (manage the money for the child held in the trust) so that you have checks and balances on the guardian of the child's person. When you name a guardian, be sure to name several successors. When naming a guardian carefully consider naming a single individual not a couple. If you name a couple consider what happens if they divorce? Also consider writing a letter of instruction for your guardian addressing how you want your child raised.

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