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Naming a Guardian of a Child as Part of a Will

A parent can proactively decide to name a guardian for their child in a Will. A Will is a legal paper that lists a person’s wishes about what they want to happen after their death. If a parent names a guardian for their child in their Will, the person named can only become the legal guardian after the parent dies and the Surrogate Court judge approves the guardianship. For a Surrogate Court judge to approve a guardian named in a Will, the Will must first be probated. Probate means proving that the Last Will and Testament of an individual is legally valid.

For general information regarding Wills, visit Court Help Centers and Community Organizations and look to see if there is a Surrogate Court Help Center located in the county where the child is present. Court-based Help Centers provide free information about the law and court procedure, to people who do not have an attorney.

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