Parents in New York who establish estate plans will likely include plans for the physical and financial care of their children. This is mostly done in the wills of the parents by naming a person to take over the care of minor children in the event of the death of both parents. Courts will only dishonor the wishes of the parents if the conservator or guardian is deemed unsuitable or if that person is not willing to take on the responsibility.
In most cases, the minor child will live in the home of the physical guardian. This person may or may not be the conservator who is appointed to oversee the child’s inheritance. If two separate individuals are selected, they will work closely together to look after the best interests of the child. The conservator must invest and manage the assets inherited by the minor and take care of the finances for the child’s education, health, maintenance, food, clothing, vacations, summer camp and other bills.
If the responsible person is a court-ordered conservator, he or she must file annual tax returns on the minor’s behalf, and the court’s permission might be required for transactions such as selling real estate that the child inherited. The conservator might also have to file detailed accounting to show how the child’s inheritance was used each year. State laws will determine at which age conservatorship will terminate. This might be at age 18 or 21, at which time the child will become an adult and deemed legally able to manage his or her own finances.
New York parents who want to make sure their children will be appropriately taken care of in their wills might have questions about the legalities of naming conservators or guardians. An experienced estate planning attorney can answer the questions and explain the requirements of such instructions in a will. With the support and guidance of legal counsel, parents can look after the best interest of their minor children, even after their deaths.