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Assigning Guardianship in New Mexico

Even if you don’t have a lot of assets, all parents or caregivers should have a will to provide for your dependents. Whether you have children of your own or you are the caretaker for an adult or senior, you will need someone to take on the responsibility of caring for your dependents when you are gone.  

Choosing a guardian is an important and difficult decision, but you are in the best position to make that decision. If you don’t, a judge will have to decide without any input from you. This can lead to family infighting and the appointment of someone who is not at all appropriate for the role. While there is no guarantee that the person you nominate in your will be appointed, judges normally give great weight to parental nominations.  

When You Should Nominate Guardians 

If you have minor children, the time to nominate is now and should be done in the course of drafting a will. If something were to happen to both parents, children will need a stable and healthy person to care for them, and a court will need to decide who that person should be. Nominating a guardian in your will is the best way to tell the court your thoughts on who should be appointed.  

Responsibilities of Guardians 

Guardians are essentially substitute parents for minors and disabled adults. They take on the responsibility of care and other needs, but they are not responsible for paying for any of those needs. Legally, a conservator is the person who will handle the finances for the person’s care, but you can nominate the same person to act as both guardian and conservator if you wish. 

Supporting Dependents With a Trust 

Raising children is expensive, and your children’s guardian likely will need assistance. A trust can be used to set aside and distribute funds for minors, and the trustee will work with the guardian to establish a monthly budget and a process to request additional funds to allow the guardian to carry out their responsibilities.  

Why You Should Not DIY Guardianships 

If you want to make sure that your dependents are cared for as you wish, consider hiring an experienced New Mexico estate planning attorney. Your attorney can help give effect to your wishes and structure your estate plan so that your children and other loved ones are supported as you would have wished. Making a mistake on these critical issues can be devastating to your family.  If you need help making sure your dependents are cared for contact us at 575-339-2100.

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