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Guardianship Issues Brought To Light By the Michael Jackson Case

The San Diego Probate Courts hear many guardianship cases each week, in the North County Branch or the downtown branch.

A probate guardianship is the appointment by the Court of an adult or adults who will have legal guardianship over a minor child. There are two types of guardianships: (1) guardianship of the person and (2) guardianship of the estate. A child’s guardian will be legally accountable for taking care of the child’s education, shelter, food, clothing, and health care. This is a huge responsibility which lasts until the child is 18. A guardian of a minor’s estate is responsible for handling the assets of the minor.

The Michael Jackson case has caused many people to ask why the Los Angeles Probate Court is involved in determining who should be the guardians of his three children. After all Jackson did nominate his mother Katherine Jackson as the guardian of his children and that is the point of having an estate plan that incorporates a nomination of guardian(s) for minor children. However some people may not realize that the individual you name in your will or trust is just a nomination; it is not etched in concrete. The nomination sets worth your wishes but if other individuals want to file for guardianship, it will be a probate judge who will determine whether your wishes are in the best interest of the children. Hence the Court in the Jackson matter will have to weigh the interests of the children together with the wishes of Michael Jackson and the qualifications of both Katherine Jackson and the biological mom, Debbie Rowe.

Anyone can file for guardianship even if the decedent named a guardian for his or her minor children. Usually the Court will give preference to relatives such as the grandparents, uncles, aunts, or other relatives but family friends and anyone over the age of 18 can seek guardianship. The experienced attorneys at Law Office of Scott C. Soady, A Professional Corporation can assist you with your guardianship matter. Contact us for a complimentary consultation.

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