You may nominate a guardian for your children in your will. Wills are the legal tool used because the guardian appointment is officially made in probate court. For this reason, individuals who plan their estate with a living trust will also usually have a will drafted to nominate a guardian for their minor children.

Since guardians are nominated in a will, the nominated guardian can be replaced simply by signing a new will that nominates a new guardian. Accordingly, a guardian can be changed at any time prior to the disability or death of both parents. After the death of both parents, the guardian can be changed only by court order. Therefore, the appointment of a guardian should be reevaluated on a regular basis as your family needs change and the needs and circumstance of the nominated guardian change.

Once a parent has decided whom to appoint to take care of a child’s physical needs, it is next necessary to decide who will be responsible for managing the child’s inheritance until he or she is mature enough to manage it. As stated before, this is the responsibility of a Successor Trustee who starts managing the trust if the parent becomes disabled or dies.