What happens to a minor child when both of his parents die?

As with most estate planning issues, this is something that is unpleasant to think about but very important.

If one parent dies then generally the surviving parent will have custody of the child.

But what if both parents die while the child is still a minor?

In that case the court will need to determine who should become the child’s guardian. Any of your friends or family members can nominate themselves to be appointed as guardian, and then it is up to the court to decide what is best for your child.

But, of course, you and the court may have different ideas about what’s best for your child.

That’s why it’s a good idea to have a will.

In a will you can nominate someone to be your child’s guardian after your death.  The court will still have final say, but in general a lot of weight is given to the parents’ wishes.

You can even nominate an alternate or successor guardian in case your first choice is unwilling or unable to serve.

You should discuss your wishes with your child’s other parent and if possible reach an agreement as to whom you will both nominate as your child’s guardian.  If you and your child’s other parent each nominate different people in your wills and then you both die the court will ultimately determine which of your nominees should be appointed.

An experienced estate planning attorney can help you protect your family by drafting a will that nominates a guardian for your children.  Call us today at 205-553-5353 or come by our Tuscaloosa office to see how we can assist you.