When you are a parent who is creating an estate plan, one thing you need to include is a guardian for your child. In the case that you pass away unexpectedly and do not have a spouse or your child’s other parent to rely on, who would you want to take over your child’s care? That’s what you can answer with a guardianship document.

There are some common questions people ask about guardianships that you may also wonder about. Here are two common questions answered.

If I’m dying, can I ask the court to assign a guardian?

Yes. If you have a terminal illness, then you can ask a court to appoint a joint guardian. With a joint guardian, you retain guardianship until you pass away. At that time, the other party already has guardianship, so it’s easier for them to take care of and comfort your child. 

Do you have to go to court to allow a friend or family member to care for your child?

While it’s a good idea, you don’t necessarily have to do so. You can get a notarized letter to state that the other party has custody of your child. Make sure you add permission to make decisions about your child’s education and medical care, including a medical release. Parents, while living, can cancel this kind of arrangement at any time.

These are two commonly asked questions and the answers based on the California Courts Guardianship FAQs page. If you have additional questions, you may want to reach out to an attorney to discuss your estate plan and how you can best provide for your child’s care.