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Planning for families with minor children

If you are a family with minor children, then it is important you have an enforceable will or writing to appoint a guardian and conservator in case something happens to both parents. “Something happens” can mean both parents die or become incapacitated at the same time and are rendered unable to make legal decisions on their behalf.

An appointment of a guardian or a conservator can only be granted by the probate court in your jurisdiction. A guardian is a person appointed by the probate court and given power and responsibility to make certain decisions about the care of another individual. These decisions might include treatment decisions or where the individual should live. A conservator is a person who is appointed by the probate court to handle the financial matters of an individual. There may be a separate guardian and conservator for one individual.

Michigan Complied Law 700.5202(1) allows for a parent of an unmarried minor to appoint a guardian for a minor by will or other writing. The same logic follows for appointment of a conservator, although interested parties have the right to object and force the court to decide the appointment. Thus, it is important to have your intentions reduced in writing.

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