Many start to think about estate planning once they have children. This is natural because parents want to have a plan in place for their young children in the event that they die while the children are still minors. Parents want to ensure that their children will be looked after by someone they trust wholeheartedly and often, through religious or spiritual ceremonies, parents will select godparents to accomplish this goal.
Selecting godparents is a great first step, but this selection will not be recognized by courts unless you also have the selected godparents nominated as guardians in your last will and testament. A guardian is the adult responsible for taking over the care (medical, financial and personal) of the minor child/children in the event that both parents have passed away. The Court will typically confirm the parents' nomination of a guardian unless it has reason to believe the nominated guardian is not qualified to serve. RCW 11.88.080.
Alternatively, if parents neglect to nominate a guardian in advance, a godparent would have to petition the Court to be appointed as guardian, and the Court will have ultimate discretion. This is a process that can take additional time and resources.
Disclaimer: The purpose of this post is to provide general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By accessing this blog site you understand that there is no attorney-client relationship between you and Sekhon Law, PLLC. This post should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.