How to Choose a Guardian of the Estate

A Guardian of the Estate is responsible for managing your child’s financial well-being if you should die, including managing any assets that may be in the child’s name. Choosing a Guardian of the Estate can be particularly important if you have significant assets that your child might inherit.

If the child's other natural parent is alive and capable, then he or she will likely be named as Guardian of the Estate.

Qualities of a Guardian of the Estate

An ideal Guardian of the Estate is someone who has: 

  • Attention to detail 
  • An understanding of his or her duties, and a commitment to taking those duties seriously 
  • An understanding of finances and perhaps business

In addition, the Guardian of the Estate should be someone you trust, who you believe understands your values and will do his or her best to act in your child’s best financial interest. The person you name as Guardian of the Estate should be someone who does not make risky investments, and who treats your child's finances with respect and responsibility.

Naming a professional as Guardian of the Estate

While the person you choose as Guardian of the Person will likely be someone you're personally close with, such as a family member or close friend, the best person to serve as Guardian of the Estate might be a professional, such as an attorney, accountant, business associate, or professional money manager. If you're considering appointing a professional to serve as Guardian of the Estate, be sure to talk to the person about his or her experience and style, and get personal and professional references.

To find a professional who could serve as Guardian of the Estate, talk to your professional contacts, such as attorneys, accountants, or business colleagues. If there are any professional who you particularly respect, you can also ask those people who they would recommend for the position.

Will the Guardian of the Estate also be the Guardian of the Person?

You may appoint the same person you named as Guardian of the Person to serve as Guardian of the Estate, or you may name a different person. There is no problem with appointing different people to serve as the different types of guardians—in fact, many people consider it a wise choice, as the person who might be best suited to meet the child's emotional, psychological, and developmental needs (the Guardian of the Person) may not have the necessary experience managing money that may be required of the Guardian of the Estate.

For advice on choosing different people to serve as Guardian of the Estate and Guardian of the Person, see our article Appointing Different People as Guardian of the Person and Guardian of the Estate.

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