Tag Archives: guardianship forms

Guardian of the person: Minor child

A guardian of the person has day-to-day responsibility for your minor children, assuming the role of a substitute parent when you die.

Q. How is the guardian of the person appointed?
A.When you die, someone must petition the court to be appointed as the guardian of the person.  You have the right to nominate a guardian of the person to take care of your children when you die.  The court will normally defer to that person as the guardian of the person and the guardian of the estate.  However, other individuals have the right to petition the court to serve in these roles.  If this should happen, the court will examine who best will protect the interests of the minor(s) and appoint that person as guardian.

If you don’t nominate a guardian, the court will do it for you, according to state rules of preferences.  A surviving parent usually comes first, followed by grandparents, if neither parent is alive.

Fact: Surviving parent rights
If one parent dies, the surviving parent continues to have the right to take personal care of minor children.

When a divorced or single parent dies, the court generally appoints the surviving parent as guardian of the person for a minor or disabled child, even if the deceased parent would have been opposed to that.

Probate Court


The probate court supervises the administration of all types of probate proceedings, including procedures required when someone dies, when someone becomes incapacitated, and the guardianship of orphaned minor children.

Some states call the courts supervising the administration of the decedent’s estate a surrogate court. 

What probate records are available to third parties?

Where are probate documents filed?

Q.  What probate records are available to third parties?

A.  During the probate process, numerous documents are filed with the court documenting the circumstances of a particular case.

If the court is supervisising the estate of a deceased person, the court records include information identifying property the deceased owns (including property, cash, stocks, bonds, jewelry, art, or othr material items) and debts owed. 

Probate records can also show collection debts that were owed to the person that died, or money that the deceased person owed to debtors.  Probate cours records can show that titles on property and which banks or loan companies held the titles

If a conservatorship case is opened, information regarding the financial affairs and the health of the individual are filed and stored with the probate court.

The fact is all probate documents are considered to be public information in  most states.  Companies make a business of selling probate information to third parties.   Identity thieves and scam artists love to visit the probate court and view probate records 


Q.   Where are probate documents filed?

A.  Probate documents must be filed in the probate court where the decedent lived. 

If a decedent owns real estate located in other geographical areas,  an ancillary probate procedure may be required in the county and states where the real estate is located.

Q.   How can third parties monitor the probate process?

A.   Many probate courts have automated systems that track when documents are filed and when documents are due.    Anyone  can log on to the probate court web site and view document names, date filed, and dates of the next action.