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Naming a Guardian for Disabled Children in Your Will

Many testators (persons who have a Will) are familiar with the concept of naming a guardian for minor children. In the case where both parents are deceased, a Court will appoint a guardian of the person to make decisions regarding the personal health, safety, and medical decisions of a child, such as where the child lives, goes to school, receives medical care, etc. However, parents of adult disabled children should also be aware of the value of appointing alternate guardians of the person (and potentially guardians of the estate) for disabled children who are no longer minors, if the parents were to become deceased.

For many parents who have been appointed as guardian of the person and estate for a child, the question arises: who will do this after we die? The answer, in short, is that the Orphans' Court of your county will appoint a new guardian or guardians to serve in those capacities (guardian of the person and guardian of the estate). However, many Courts will look to the Will of the prior guardian to determine preference for guardianship appointment -- especially when the deceased guardian was the parent of the disabled child.

Thus, this simple clause in a Will can have a great impact on who the Court appoints to make critical decisions for a disabled child later in life, after the parent(s) become deceased. In the case of many disabled children who may outlive parents, this is an important addition to a Will.

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