EDMOND — EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a weekly series of columns written by attorneys at Lester, Loving & Davies law firm in Edmond.
Last week I discussed the manner in which a parent can nominate a guardian of her children. Those of us with minor children should name the person we want to be guardian of our children in our will or other qualified writing. This is best done through an attorney.
The subject was timely to me last week because my own 14-year-old son was in Japan, and in the care of people I do not know. To my surprise, and to the great pleasure of his mother, our son did not lose himself on the streets of Tokyo or board the wrong train. He returned in one piece, sans luggage, which was lost due to no negligence of his own. We were also relieved to learn that he was well tended. In fact, because his Japanese guardian did his laundry every night, when his suitcase finally arrived, it was full of clean clothes. Turns out Mrs. Osuga’s hands may be more capable than our own.
And that leads to the rest of the guardianship evaluation. Who is qualified to be a guardian? Knowing this up front is important so that you don’t nominate a guardian a judge can’t appoint because of a legal technicality.
No one may be guardian of more than five people. This presents an interesting issue for families with more than five children. In order to keep all children in the same household, the best choice is to choose a husband and wife. Nominate the husband as guardian of some children, and the wife as guardian of the others. You can stipulate that the guardianship remain valid only so long as the husband and wife reside in the same home.
Who else is disqualified? Any person to whom the appointing judge is personally indebted is disqualified. Minors cannot serve. Except for close relatives, a guardian must have been a resident of Oklahoma for at least a year.
If the proposed guardian has been convicted of a crime, is subject to a protective order, is involved in any pending criminal or civil case, is insolvent, owes the child money or has filed bankruptcy in the last five years, the court must be satisfied that such fact does not impair the guardian’s ability to care for the child, and that his appointment is in the child’s interest.
MATT HOPKINS is an attorney for Lester, Loving & Davies P.C. More information is available at lldlaw.com. Send questions to