Wills and Living Wills

questions & answers

Question: A California court awarded me full legal and physical custody of my daughter after her father hit her. He has been convicted of domestic violence, drug and misc criminal charges. He is supposedly "clean" now and court ordered that he can call my daughter once per week. This is the extent of their relationship. I currently live in Arizona and want to be sure that if something were to happen to me, my sister would have guardianship. My daughter is now 13, does not want to live with him and I strongly believe it is not in her best interest to live with him. She has very close relationship with my sister and my sister would provide stability. Can I "transfer" my custodial rights to my sister and direct that custody not go to my ex or his family in a will?

Answer: A person can nominate a guardian for her daughter in her Last Will & Testament. The person nominated will still need to file the appropriate paperwork and a copy of that Will upon your death. A child who is over the age of 14 has a right to tell the court his/her preference for guardian and living arrangements. The judge makes the ultimate and final decision, but the requests of the child and nomination of the parent are given a lot of weight in that decision making process. Her father, however, has a right to object and present evidence about why he is the appropriate choice.

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QUESTIONS

  • A California court awarded me full legal and physical custody of my daughter after her father hit her. He has been convicted of domestic violence, drug and misc criminal charges. He is supposedly "clean" now and court ordered that he can call my daughter once per week. This is the extent of their relationship. I currently live in Arizona and want to be sure that if something were to happen to me, my sister would have guardianship. My daughter is now 13, does not want to live with him and I strongly believe it is not in her best interest to live with him. She has very close relationship with my sister and my sister would provide stability. Can I "transfer" my custodial rights to my sister and direct that custody not go to my ex or his family in a will?

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