After a person dies, their assets that have been left behind must be properly distributed among heirs. However, along with physical assets, sometimes guardianship over other people who were dependents of the decedent must also be addressed. Usually, in Florida or any other state, these dependents are either children or elderly parents or relatives. One guardianship case regarding what to do with the children of a deceased mother was recently decided by a probate judge.
The guardianship case has a significant financial impact because there is approximately $800,000 at stake in this custody dispute. This significant amount of money stems from two sources. One is a trust fund for the children which is worth $300,000 and was funded by donations from the community after the mother was killed while serving as a police officer. There is also a $500,000 payout in death benefits from her job.
The judge ultimately decided to grant guardianship to the deceased mother’s father. The father will then be appointed a counselor by the court in order to help decide what to do about the couple’s four children. The court judge also found the children’s father in contempt due to his failure to make required child support payments. Decisions regarding where the children should live and where they should attend school must be still be finalized.
When guardianship of minor children is in dispute, it is always an uncomfortable situation in Florida or anywhere else. However, it may sometimes be necessary to litigate in probate court. This will require some knowledge of applicable statutes and case law. Familiarity with the proper legal process will also be essential.