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How To Appoint A Guardian For My Child If I Die Australia

appoint a guardian for my child if i die australia | Justice Family Lawyers

Appointing a guardian for your child if you die in Australia is an important step in ensuring their well-being. Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you navigate the process:

  1. Choose a guardian: The most crucial step is to carefully select a guardian who shares your values and priorities for your child’s upbringing. Consider individuals who have a close relationship with your child and are willing to take on the significant responsibility of caring for them.
  2. Discuss your guardianship wishes: Engage in open and honest conversations with your chosen guardian to ensure they are fully aware of your expectations and preferences regarding your child’s care. Discuss your values, routines, and any special needs your child may have.
  3. Document your guardianship decision: Formalize your decision by creating a will or a guardianship order. A will outlines your overall estate distribution, including the guardianship of your child, while a guardianship order specifically addresses the child’s care arrangements.
  4. Seek legal advice: Consult with a wills and estate lawyer to ensure your will or guardianship order is legally sound and adheres to Australian laws. They can guide you through the process, ensuring your child’s future is well-protected.
  5. Inform your child: Consider discussing your guardianship plans with them depending on their age and maturity level. This can help them feel more secure and understand the arrangements in place should you pass away.
  6. Review and update: As your child grows and circumstances change, periodically review and update your guardianship arrangements. Ensure the chosen guardian fits your child’s evolving needs best.

Legal Requirements for Appointing a Guardian in Australia

The legal requirements for appointing a guardian in Australia vary depending on your state or territory. However, some general principles apply across the country.

To be appointed as a guardian in Australia, you must:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Be of sound mind
  • Be willing and able to take on the responsibilities of guardianship
  • Not be a paid carer of the person for whom you are seeking guardianship

Steps to Follow for Appointing a Guardian Application

The application process for guardianship varies depending on the state or territory you reside in. However, the general steps are as follows:

  1. Complete the relevant application form: The application form will ask for information about the ward, the proposed guardian, and the reasons why guardianship is needed.
  2. Provide supporting documents: You will need to provide supporting documents, such as medical reports, psychological assessments, and affidavits from family and friends.
  3. File the application with the court or tribunal: The application will be reviewed by a court or tribunal officer, who may schedule a hearing to consider the matter.
  4. Attend the hearing: If a hearing is scheduled, you must attend and give evidence. The court or tribunal will consider all of the evidence and make a decision about whether or not to appoint a guardian.

What if Only One Parent Dies?

Appointing a legal guardian for your child may not be relevant if only one parent dies.

Care of the children does not necessarily go to the legal guardian named in the deceased parent’s will.

If the children’s parents were separated or divorced before the parent’s death, a family law order might have been arranged through the family court, which specifies who the children will live with.

A family law order of this nature will override any contradictory wishes in the deceased’s will.

If there is no family law order in place, the surviving parent doesn’t automatically get custody of the children.

Nor does the legal guardian named in the dead parent’s will get automatic custody.

In fact, without a family law order of this nature in place, who becomes the legal guardian in such cases is anything but clear-cut.

Any interested party who is a significant person in the child’s life can apply to have the court create a parenting order that names them as the legal guardian. This could be an aunt, grandparent, or even a step-parent.

While this may seem unfair, in family law, any decision made around child care is based on what is deemed to be in their best interests.

Parents should discuss who they want to care for their children should one or both of them pass away. They should then seek legal advice from an experienced family lawyer to create a family law order and legally binding wills that clearly state their wishes.

Also read: Does My Spouse Automatically Inherit Everything When I Die?

Appointing a Guardian for Child’s Welfare

A client approached Justice Family Lawyers seeking to appoint a guardian for her daughter, concerned about her well-being after her demise. She emphasised the importance of ensuring her daughter’s continued care and protection.

Our legal team was tasked with preparing the necessary documents and legal applications to establish a suitable guardian, aligning with the client’s wishes and Australian legal standards. The process involved detailed consultations, choosing an appropriate guardian, and navigating the legal formalities to secure the child’s future.

How to Appoint a Guardian for My Child If I Die Australia

Secure your child’s future with confidence. Contact Justice Family Lawyers today to navigate the process of appointing a guardian. Our experienced team will guide you through every step, ensuring your peace of mind and your child’s well-being. Don’t leave your child’s future to chance; let us help you make the best decision for their care. Call now for a consultation and safeguard your child’s tomorrow.