One part of creating an estate plan as a parent is choosing guardians for minor children. A guardian is a person appointed by the court who is authorized to care for and make decisions on behalf of the minor in regard to his or her person and/or estate, after parents pass away.
If you came to the U.S. from a different country, you might find it difficult to find someone in the U.S. who you want to appoint as a guardian of your children. Instead, your closest family, whether that is your sibling, parent, or cousin, may be living in a different country. However, you believe they would be the best fit as a guardian for your child. So, can you choose someone from a different country as a guardian for your minor child?
The short answer is yes. However, there are a number of things to keep in mind. First, the court is not required to appoint the person chosen by you as the guardian. Rather, the court takes into consideration the person you named in your will, while also taking into consideration the interest of the child and what would be best for him or her. Below are some of the things the court will take into consideration, therefore, parents should also analyze these factors when choosing guardians.
- Financial stability of the guardian. The court will look at the sources of income of the guardian and the resources available to the child from possible inheritance, to determine if that guardian can be a stable support for the minor.
- Age and Health. The court will look at the age of the guardian to make sure that they have the mental and physical capability to take care of the child.
- Relationship between the guardian and child. The court will try to analyze to the best of its ability, the bond that the parties share, whether the child knows the guardian well and is comfortable around him or her.
- Ability of the guardian to travel to U.S. The court will look to see if the guardian is able to travel to the U.S. in order to handle the process of appointing a guardian, as well as to pick up the child since he or she will not be able to leave the country on their own. Also, the court might consider whether the guardian is able to enter the U.S. on as needed basis, if such need arises in the process of taking care of the child.
- Other considerations related to travel:
- The court will look to see if the child speaks the language of the country to which he or she would be moving.
- If the child is over 14 years of age, they will have a say as to who they want their guardian to be and whether they want to move outside of the U.S. While their choice is definitive, it will help the court in making the final determination.
- The court will look at the conditions of the country to which the child would be moving to, in order to ensure that they would not be in any danger due to their race, color, religion, conditions in the country, etc.
At Sobon Law LLC, we make it our priority to help you create a successful estate plan, including a plan of care for your minor children. Call or text us today, at 216-586-4246 to schedule an appointment.