Guardianship Letter in Case of Death

Guardianship Letter in Case of Death

For many people, the last thing they want to think about is their demise; however, if you have children and you want them cared for after you pass, a guardianship letter is an approach to ensuring they are taken care of. There are other situations such as an adult who can no longer look after themselves, or a member of the military who is shipped overseas, or adults that are not competent and need care even though they are not elderly.

These are difficult decisions and affect the lives of those we love and cherish. A will can describe these details; however, a guardianship letter is considered a supportive document in this situation. They are also recognized by many state governments and legal courts as well.

We will dive into more of the details associated with guardianship letters, how they are used, and the essential elements of these letters.

What Is a Guardianship Letter in Case of Death?

A guardianship letter in case of death is prepared by parents or a legal guardian who wants to ensure their children are looked after in case of their death before they become adults as defined in law. The letter is a legal document that usually supports the last will and testament where guardians are named. The letter is used to elaborate on the choice and provide additional details the parent feels are needed in case the will is contested by family members and others with interest in the estate.

Preparing a guardianship letter in case of death is considered good family planning for parents in any profession, but especially those in careers where their lives may be in jeopardy, such as the military, police, firemen, and other situations that are considered dangerous.

How a Sample Guardianship Letter Can Help You

There are several ways that a guardianship letter can help you; however, the primary reason is to ensure that your dependents are looked after in a manner that ensures their safety and well-being and gives them an opportunity to grow and prosper as adults.

Using a sample guardianship letter to guide you makes the task of preparing a letter easier and ensures that you consider some of the important elements needed in a guardianship letter. These elements include:

  • Names of relevant parties
  • Confirmation of your decision
  • Confirmation of discussions with proposed guardians
  • Explanations
  • Any rules or guidelines

The letter should support instructions included in your will and follow local state requirements. The letter also allows you to explain your rationale for selecting the guardians you choose and provide any special instructions to the guardians and family members.

Sample Guardianship Letter in Case of Death

[Name of Person]

[full address]


To: [My family, Guardians, Executor of my Will]

This letter explains my rationale for naming [Proposed Guardian] as guardians of my minor children, [Name all children] in the event of my death. I also request that my family members support this decision and provide support to my kids as they transition their life with [Name of Guardian] during what will be a stressful and sad time in their lives.

I have given this decision careful consideration and tried to take into account all of the issues while making the best decision for my children. Please do not be offended, hurt, or disappointed. My children have been fortunate to have you in their lives, and I hope they will continue to have you in their lives to help support them into adulthood.

[Name of guardian] will do the best they can for my children. [List the reasons why this person is a good choice]. [experience raising children, familiar with my children, stable home life, church, and values].

I have discussed the role of a guardian with [Name of guardian] at length. They understand how important it is for the kids to continue in their activities and existing life as much as possible, including sports, church, current schools, and other activities they are involved with.

[Name of Guardian] has also agreed to ensure that the kids will see their grandparents, uncles, and aunts, and cousins on a regular basis.

Thank you for supporting my decision for a guardian for my children. Please do what you can to support [Name of kids] by supporting [Name of Guardian] as their guardian.


[Name of Person]

Guardianship Letter in Case of Death (Word Template)

    Guardianship Form (PDF Template)

    Guardianship Form 20211101

    Download: PDF

      Essential Elements of a Guardianship Letter

      The following are the essential elements of a guardianship letter, with more details provided.

      • Names of relevant parties
      • Confirmation of your decision
      • Confirmation of discussions with proposed guardians
      • Explanations
      • Any rules or guidelines

      Names of relevant parties – include the names of the parents, the children, and the people you have chosen to be guardians

      Confirmation of your decision – explain the rationale for your decision, the benefits to the children.

      Confirmation of discussions with proposed guardians – always speak with the proposed guardians beforehand and confirm their willingness to become guardians if needed

      Explanations – are sometimes needed to explain why you chose some people for guardians and not others.

      Any rules or guidelines – include rules or guidelines such as access to other family members, education, etc.

      How to Write

      Once you have made all of the decisions, writing the guardianship letter is relatively straightforward. The following steps may be helpful for readers.

      Step 1 – Discuss with your significant other the need to have guardians for your children. They may or may not agree or do not want to contemplate the situation. Be patient and discuss scenarios.

      Step 2 – Choose potential guardians that both of you can agree on. List the pros and cons for each set and arrive at a priority list. Not everyone will be able to or want to become guardians due to the responsibility involved

      Step 3 – Decide if you will have any special rules or guidelines for your guardians. Maintaining access to other family members, not moving, going to higher educational schools, looking after pets, etc.

      Step 4 – Speak with the guardians you have chosen to make them aware and seek their agreement to accept the role as guardians. If they are unable to accept the responsibility, you may have to turn to your second choice on your list

      Step 5 – Discuss these issues with your children. This is a difficult decision. Young children may not be able to comprehend the concepts. Those that do may become overly worried, and older children in their teens may be able to accept the situation and want to have input on the entire process.

      Step 6 – Once all of the decisions have been made, and the guardians have agreed to their roles, prepare the guardianship letter, sign it, and place a copy with your will. You may also provide a copy to your guardians and close family members such as grandparents.


      The following are several frequently asked questions that many readers have when considering guardians for their children and loved ones.

      What is a Guardianship Form?

      A guardianship form is a legal form used to indicate who will take care of a child or a dependent if the primary guardian can no longer take of them. Usually, they apply in situations involving medical illness, death, or a serious accident. They may also be used if an active duty member in the military is being sent overseas, and a guardian must be appointed to look after a dependent child or a dependent adult. The guardianship can be temporary or permanent.

      These forms vary state by state. They must include the current parents or guardians, the name of the dependent, the names of the proposed guardians. Always speak to the guardian ahead of time to ensure they are comfortable with taking on this role. They are legal documents that must be approved by the court in your state.

      What are Essential Elements of a Guardianship Form?

      Much like the Guardianship letter, the Guardianship Form has essential elements that must be included in every document. Since this is a standard form that is managed by your local state government, check the form for the specific information you need to provide. The name of the form can vary somewhat state by state; however, these are some of the common names used:

      Petition for Appointment of Guardian (or Petition for Appointment of Guardian of Minor)
      Petition for Conservatorship (when dealing with an incompetent adult)
      Order Appointing Guardian
      Letters of Guardianship

      The elements common to these forms include:

      Identity of Everyone Involved
      Guardian Responsibilities
      Witnesses and Signatures

      Identity of Everyone Involved – include yourself and your dependents and the guardians you wish to appoint to look after your dependents. Use full legal names, provide dates of birth, the guardian’s full address, and contact details. Include relationship details.

      Dates – include the start and end date of the guardianship, especially if this is a temporary situation. This is the period of time your guardian must provide guardianship duties. State laws may specify requirements regarding maximum timeframes.

      Guardian Responsibilities – indicate the responsibilities, the decisions they are allowed to make, and those they are not. Making decisions about the decisions they can make regarding financial issues, medication, and others you may be concerned about are very important to avoid misunderstandings.

      Witnesses and Signatures – requirements vary from state to state, however as a general rule having all signatures witnessed is a good way to avoid challenges.

      Notarization – some states may require the form and signatures to be notarized. Check with your local state requirements. Again, having a guardianship form signed by all parties, witnessed, and notarized prevents unnecessary complications if there are challenges to who is to be the guardian of your dependents.

      How do you make someone a legal guardian in case of death in Texas?

      The Texas Guide to Adult Guardianship by Texas Health and Human Services is an excellent document describing many different situations where a guardian may be required for the person and the estate. An interested party which could be a friend, family member, or a government agency, can request the court to appoint a guardian to look after the affairs of the ward. This includes all of their personal needs, medications, housing, and also managing the estate to ensure that funds in the estate are managed and used in support of the ward.

      Guardianship may end for several reasons:
      The situation that required the need for a guardian has improved, and the ward no longer needs a guardian.
      A new guardian is appointed by the court, and all responsibilities are transferred
      The ward passes away, the guardianship ends, and the executor of the will takes over the responsibility of managing the estate, paying all outstanding expenses, and distributing the assets as instructed in the will. A request to close the guardianship must be filed in court.

      Who becomes guardian if parents die?

      There are many sad situations where the parents die in an accident, leaving their young children parentless. Many parents will specify in their wills or have a pre-approved guardianship form or letter filled out specifying who they wish the guardians of their children would be in the event of their death. It is considered good family planning to have these kinds of emergency plans in place to avoid any additional stress and discomfort for the children and relatives.
      In the event there is no will or a guardian appointed, the state will step in following local laws to make the children a ward of the state until guardians can be found and agree to take on this responsibility. During this time frame, it can be very traumatic for everyone. Check with your local state agencies for specific guidelines to follow in these difficult situations.

      What is the Difference between Adult and Child Guardianship Forms?

      Child and adult guardianship differs in one major way. Before a guardian can be appointed for an adult, the adult must be proven incompetent and unable to look after their own affairs and decisions. This must be completed in front of a judge, explain why they cannot look after themselves, why you should be appointed as guardian, what your responsibilities are and who needs to know that you have been appointed as guardian. Every state has its own legal requirements and process. Check with the legal aid office or at a county court for the procedures and requirements.

      Children who are not considered adults can have guardians appointed at the request of the parents or the state and must be approved by the court. Situations that require the appointment of guardians are the death of the parents, military members posted overseas, undocumented parents being deported, or the parent has a serious illness and cannot care for their dependents. Check your state’s legal laws and requirements for establishing guardianship of children.

      What are Post-Guardianship Forms?

      Guardianship may end for a variety of reasons. These include:

      Children reaching the age of majority
      Parents return from overseas
      The guardian can no longer perform their role as guardian
      The ward is not competent to manage their own affairs.

      Termination documents must be completed following your local state legal requirements. These documents are presented at court at a hearing where anyone interested in the situation can attend and voice their concerns, if any. The forms used vary state by state and have different names; however, common names for these forms are:

      · Petition to Terminate Child Guardianship,
      · Request to Close Guardianship and Release Assets.

      The judge will decide if the guardianship should be terminated or transferred to a new guardian.

      Key Points

      These documents should clearly name the person or person granting guardianship, who the dependents are, and who the guardians will be. The letters or forms should be witnessed and, in some states, must be notarized. In many states, they must be approved by the state courts.

      Both the letters and forms should state when the guardianship begins and ends, as well as what decisions the guardian is allowed to make and what responsibilities they have or do not have.

      Always check your local state laws for requirements that must be fulfilled if you are planning to enact guardianship for your children or an adult who no longer can take care of themselves.

      In addition to completing the guardianship form or letter, it is a good idea to prepare a letter to friends and family explaining your rationale for the decisions you have made and request family members to provide full support to the dependent or ward and the guardian. The letter can also indicate your wishes for family members to be involved, especially where children are involved, and there are grandparents and uncles/aunts who want to be part of their lives.