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ESTATE PLANNING
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS



GUARDIANS
QUESTION: What can my spouse and I include in our wills to be sure that our minor children are protected?

ANSWER: You need to nominate one or more persons to serve as guardians of the estate and person of your minor children.

QUESTION: What is the difference between guardian of the “person” and guardian of the “estate”?

ANSWER: The guardian of the “person” of a minor child is responsible for the physical care and custody of the child. The guardian of the “estate” is responsible for the management of the child’s assets.

QUESTION: Can one person serve as both guardian of the person and guardian of the estate?

ANSWER: Yes. As a matter of fact, most parents name the same person or persons to serve in both capacities.

QUESTION: Why would I want to name one person as guardian of the person and another person as guardian of the estate?

ANSWER: The interests and abilities of the persons you intend to nominate often determine this. You may have a sister who is an excellent mother and would be a great person to raise your children, but she may have no interest or skills in managing and investing assets. On the other hand, you may have a brother-in-law who is extremely good at managing assets, but has no interest in raising children. Assuming these two people can work well together in doing what is best for your children, you can nominate your sister as guardian of the person and your brother-in-law as guardian of the estate of your minor children.

QUESTION: Can I nominate two persons to serve as guardians at the same time? In other words, can I nominate my sister and her husband as guardians of the person and the estate of my children?

ANSWER: Yes, you can. Parents often nominate a married couple as guardians – especially as guardians of the person.

QUESTION: At what age do guardianships terminate?

ANSWER: The duties and responsibilities of guardians of minors terminate when the child reaches 18 under Minnesota law.

For answers to frequently asked questions in other areas of law, select
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