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Procedure for seeking guardianship of 14 year old who recently lost both parents

Los Angeles, CA |

My step grand-daughter has lost both parents in the past 3 years. She is only 14 yrs. old she has two 1/2 brothers one is 28 the other in his 30s. A step sister who is 18. Will the state determine who should take her in their home or does the State take her if no one comes forward requesting guardianship?

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Attorney answers 1


The general procedure is that the Probate Court of the county in which the child resides is the entity that will determine the guardian who is appropriate to take care of the child. Normally, the proposed guardian must be an adult, competent and suitable to serve and live in the same state, often the same county. If the parents named a guardian in their will, then that person will be given priority, but is not necessarily a shoe-in. Often, who ever applies to become the guardian is the one appointed if the court deems them appropriate. If there is a fight between parties who want to become the guardian, the court will make the final determination after a hearing. Many times the court prefers a third party to serve as guardian if the family members cannot decide. The court would rather a family member come forward and apply to become guardian. However, if needed, the court will order the child into the state's custody until a final plan can be determined. She can end up in foster care if no one in the family will agree to become guardian or the court doesn't have any other suitable and appropriate prospect to serve.