By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

Having been an estate planning attorney now for over 20 years, I can tell you that each of my clients had concerns and questions about creating their own estate plan. Perhaps the most important question these clients discuss with me is who they should name as the guardians of their children, if they were to die at a time when their children are still young.

Idaho law allows a parent to nominate one or more guardians for their minor aged children in their last will and testament. A nomination made by a parent in this way has the highest priority of appointment by the courts.

It is important that parents understand that courts will be involved in the appointment of a guardian. In other words, a guardianship proceeding will still need to be held in the court for a court order to be issued that legally establishes who the guardian of the minor aged children are. As mentioned, the courts will give her the highest priority of appointment to the individual nominated by the parents through their last will and testament.

The next question is who should be named as a guardian? A parent can nominate whoever they want. They are not required to name family members if they choose not to.

The best guidance that I can give to parents who are considering who to nominate as guardians for their minor age children is to think about who will raise their children the way they were themselves if they were still alive. They should choose someone they trust. This could be a family member, but it could also be a close friend or some other individual they know.

The guardian will take possession of any money or property that is left to the children directly. They are supposed to use this money and property for the benefit of the child. A court process that requires an annual report and accounting will be done by the guardian who receives this kind of money or property.

Often, a trust is used in connection with a guardianship so that the finances provided to support the children are handled correctly. The individual named as a trustee of this trust could be the guardian or it could be some other individual.

Naming a guardian is a big decision to make for any parent. It requires thinking through the unpleasant possibility that you may die while your children are still young. The good news is, the clients we work with are not alone. We discuss the many options available, and the duties and responsibilities that a guardian will have. By doing this, we help our clients come up with a plan they are comfortable with and that they know will provide for their children.


If you have any questions about your estate or how to simplify your plans for your family and loved ones, we can help.  Call us toll free at 877-232-6101 or 208-232-6101 for a free consultation with Lane Erickson and the Racine Olson team of Estate Planning attorneys in Pocatello. You can also email Lane Erickson directly at lane@racineolson.com. We will answer your questions and will help you solve your Idaho estate planning problems. I have helped numerous clients create their own customized estate plans and I am confident that I can help you too.

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