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Important Information:

  • Under California law, a parent may nominate a guardian of the person or the estate, or both.  Probate Code §1500
  • When parents choose a guardian(s) for their children, a court must consider and give due weight to the nomination of the guardian(s) by the parents.  Family Code § 3043
  • Upon hearing a petition for guardianship a court shall appoint a guardian of the estate as nominated by the parents unless the court determines that the nominee is unsuitable.  Probate Code §1514

A court may make an investigation* into a potential guardian and includes:

  1. The social history of the guardian; 
  2. The social history of the ward;
  3. An assessment of the ward’s developmental, emotional, psychological, or educational needs and the capacity of the petitioner (proposed guardian) to meet those needs;
  4. The relationship of the proposed ward to the guardian (including the duration and character of the relationship, how the physical custody of the ward was acquired by the proposed guardian, and the ward’s attitude toward the proposed guardian if the ward is able to express an attitude;
  5. The social history of the ward;
  6. The plan of the proposed guardian for the stable and permanent home of the child.

*The costs of the investigation are paid by the estate of the child (i.e., by the parents).

If you choose a guardian in advance the court will usually accept your choice with the least cost and hassle for the proposed guardian(s).  The court looks at what appears to be the best interests of the child, the proposed guardian’s ability to manage and preserve the child’s estate (i.e., inheritance), as well as the proposed guardian’s concern for and interest in the welfare of the child.

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