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In Virginia, if you die before establishing guardianship for your child, the court may decide who will care for your child.

By definition, a guardian is an individual who has the legal authority to care for the personal and property interests of another person — including a minor child.

In Virginia, as the parent, you may designate a guardian who may care for your child (and, if so directed, any estate bequeathed to your child), if while your child is a minor you later die or you are not otherwise fit to care for your child, provide your appointment of the guardian complies with Virginia law. Your child’s guardian has the authority, and obligation, to look after the physical and personal needs of your child (including, in most instances, food, shelter, education, finances, medical decisions, and much more).

Appointment of the guardian of your child is subject to the approval of the circuit court in your jurisdiction. Although the decision is in the court’s discretion, courts favor the individual, or individuals, you properly designate.

If you do not appoint a guardian, the court will make its own determination as to whom it deems is proper to care for your child, which can lead to unintended consequences such as family conflict and rejection and rebellious behavior from your child. In certain cases, if in the court’s opinion, there is no such proper person who can, is able or willing to serve as guardian, your child may be transitioned into the foster system—though, Court’s do favor a familial connection.

For your peace of mind, and to secure your child’s future, we recommend meeting with one of our estate planning attorneys in Richmond, Virginia. We will help you properly select, and designate, a guardian, to ensure your child remains in good hands.

Our law practice has been helping Virginia families with guardianship matters since 1977, and we are dedicated to understanding your unique situation, advising you on your decision and ensuring you properly designate the guardian for your child.

Contact an Experienced Estate Planning Attorney in Richmond, VA

To speak with one of our trustworthy estate planning attorneys in Richmond, Virginia, about selecting and properly designating a guardian for your child, call 804-320-9100 today and ask to speak with Brandon Cowan, Michael Hall, or Scott Stovall.