D'Onofrio Law Office, P.C.
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Who Will Provide for and Take Care of Your Minor Children if Both Parents Die?

If you fail to name a guardian in your Last Will and Testament or in your living trust, then the court will do it for you, based on what it deems to be in the best interest of your child. Typically, upon your death, Children Services will immediately place your minor children in a foster home. Keep in mind that your minor children may be split up and sent to different foster homes. This of course, would be a disaster and place unnecessary fear in your minor children. While many foster parents are good solid citizens who truly love caring for children, other foster parents take on as many children as they can just to receive the monthly government stipend without regard to the care of the children. 

Your children will remain in the foster home until a family member or other family friend comes forward and petitions the court to be appointed as guardian. This is only the beginning of the process. The court will then have a background check performed on the petitioning party to make certain that they are not drug addicts, alcoholics, as well as to determine that they are not unemployed or bankrupt.

Basically, the court wants to make certain that the party is capable of acting in the best interest of the minor child. Unless you have confidence that a judge who never knew you has better judgment than you do about matters involving your children, it is best not to stick your head in the sand for 18 years. By nominating a guardian of your minor children in your estate planning documents, your children will avoid being placed into a foster home and will live with the party that you nominated while the court does a background check on the party. The premise is that if you trusted the person enough to nominate that person as the guardian, the court will presume the party to be of proper character.

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Pittsburgh Probate & Estate Planning Lawyer
651 Holiday Drive
Foster Plaza 5, Suite 300
Pittsburgh, PA 15220

Phone: 412-637-2596
Fax: 412-928-4951
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