You may have heard the term guardian ad litem (GAL) before, but aren’t really sure what it means or the job a GAL performs. For many, the only contact they have with one is via a divorce, adoption, or child custody case. However, a GAL can also play a pivotal role in estate planning law.
Guardians Ad Litem (GALs) and Estate Planning
In all cases and types of law, the role of a GAL is to look after the best interests of a minor or someone who is incapacitated, and to speak on their behalf. Despite the term guardian, a GAL does not have custody of the child or incapacitated individual. The Latin phrase ad litem loosely translates as “for the needs of the suit.” This means that the GAL performs her duties for a limited time during a lawsuit or a legal issue in court.
In estate law, the GAL may be tasked with ensuring that the interests of child beneficiaries of an estate are protected. In some cases this refers to unknown descendants or unborn children. A common situation involves the appointment of a GAL for someone who becomes incapacitated and can no longer manage their estate and financial affairs.
Estate planning lawyers often perform the duties of a guardian ad litem. If you have minor children or are responsible for an incapacitated adult, speak with an experienced estate planning lawyer about the possible need for a GAL to carry out your or their future wishes. Contact Grissom Law, LLC at 678.781.9230.
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