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Who is the First Person to Get Custody of a Child if the Parent Passes Away?

The time after a child loses both parents is a confusing one. However, there is law about who should become guardian of the child in Tennessee in these situations.

Most adults are aware that they should have a will outlining how their estate will be distributed after they pass away. But having a will is even more important for parents of minor children, as the document can also name guardians of those children. Unfortunately, too many people fail to get around to creating a will before tragedy strikes. This can be confusing for surviving family members, particularly during their time of grief.

Who Can Become a Guardian in Tennessee?

Tennessee law outlines which individuals can be named as guardian of the person or property of a minor child. The law also places these individuals in order of priority. The priority for guardianship of a minor child is as follows:

After the death of the parents, a court will start at the top of the list when determining who will become guardian of the person of the child, and in effect have child custody. If none of the above parties are available, or no one comes forward to be considered for guardianship, the minor will become a ward of the state and be in the foster care system.

Guardianship Eligibility

Courts must approve guardianship before it becomes legal. Guardians named within a parent’s will are given first priority after death of the parents. After that, courts usually want to appoint to guardianship a person who has a strong relationship with the child and who is a blood relative, so a sibling, the grandparents, or aunt or uncle would have priority. However, there are cases when guardianship is appointed to someone who is not a blood relative.

There are also other legal and practical considerations that go into naming a guardian. Some of these are as follows:

Call My Law Office in Brentwood, TN if you have a guardianship issue

If you have a guardianship issue, call my Brentwood law firm for help with the process in Franklin or Nashville. I am Judy A. Oxford, Attorney at Law. I have experience with guardianship cases and can help you with yours. Call me at 615-791-8511 or contact me online to schedule a brief free consultation so we can get started on your case.