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How to turn down becoming a legal guardian of minors


Estate planning affects more than just the life and immediate family of the person creating the plans. Legally preparing for death or incapacitation can also impact the lives of extended family, friends and other loved ones.  

One of the ways it can do this is through the appointment of a guardianship. A guardian is someone who can make certain legal decisions, usually medical or financial, for another person. Guardianships can be beneficial for incompetent adults and for minors.

You may have relatives or friends who come to you asking if they can name you as the guardian of their children in their estate plans. What do you do if you want to say no?

How to say no when someone asks you to be a legal guardian

You may have multiple reasons why you do not want to become a guardian. Maybe you do not feel close enough to the family to accept such a personal responsibility. Perhaps your parenting styles are vastly different, you can barely keep up with your own household or you plain just do not like the person's children.

Whatever the reason, you do not have to give an explanation. You can simply say you do not feel comfortable taking the position and would rather the children be with someone who can fulfill the role properly and provide them with the environment they need to thrive under the challenging circumstances.  

What to do if you change your mind after agreeing to be a guardian

What if you said yes when the person first asked you, but now you have changed your mind? If the parents are still alive, all you need to do is inform them right away so they can find someone else and redo the legal paperwork.

What if the parents have passed or become incapacitated, and you are now the legal guardian? Florida statutes outline how to terminate a guardianship, whether by resignation or removal. This legal process is complex, and the decision ultimately lies with the judge, so you will need the help of an attorney experienced with Florida guardianships.

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