family unloading a truck

Children need a capable adult to provide, protect, and care for them. But what happens if both parents of a minor child die?

As tragic as this is, parents should consider this when planning for their children and estate in case of their deaths. If no planning has been done before this tragedy, then a surviving parent must apply to the local Colorado probate court to determine who should serve as the child’s guardian. 

However, the parents’ death is just one instance in which a guardian may be appointed for a child.

Keep reading to learn how guardianship works in Colorado.

What is a Guardian?

Like in other states, a Colorado guardian is an individual who is appointed by the court to raise and care for a minor child. A guardian has the same responsibilities as a parent and must, at all times, act in the child’s best interests.

Although guardians are responsible for making decisions for the child, they do not have legal control over the child’s property. 

Guardianship responsibilities include:

  • Taking physical custody of the child
  • Providing a safe place for the child to live
  • Establishing a relationship with the child so that the guardian can make decisions for the child
  • Making decisions about support, education, care, health, and welfare of the child.

Guardians are often appointed when both of the child’s parents die or the parents are otherwise unable or unwilling to care for the child. 

The process of applying for guardianship can be complicated and unnerving. Additionally, understanding the requirements once appointed can keep you up at night. To understand more about how to become a guardian, contact a qualified Colorado guardianship lawyer to learn more. 

Who Can Be a Child’s Guardian in Colorado?

Colorado has specific rules around who can be a child’s guardian in Colorado.  For example, you must be 21 years of age. Also, you don’t have to be related to the child or a Colorado resident to serve as a guardian.

The parents may appoint you as a child’s guardian or co-guardian in their will.  Additionally, the court may appoint you as a legal guardian.

Why Would a Colorado Court Appoint a Guardian for a Child?

If the court appoints you as guardian, it could be because:

  • The parents agree to the appointment
  • The parents’ parental rights have been taken away
  • The parents’ may not be able to care for the child (such as after death or abandonment)
  • The original guardian dies, and a replacement guardian is not named in the will

If appointed by a judge, you’ll need to provide background information (such as a background check and credit report) to the court so the judge can determine whether you’ll serve as a competent guardian. 

Legal Assistance with the Guardianship Process

Becoming a guardian is often an arduous process. At VanLandingham Law, our Denver guardianship lawyer can help you file the required paperwork and take the steps needed to become a guardian.  Contact the VanLandingham Law Team today for more information on how to become a legal guardian.