Can you appoint a guardian for your child who is not a US citizen or resident?

UPDATED: Feb 22, 2012

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Can you appoint a guardian for your child who is not a US citizen or resident?

My wife and I have a 5 month old daughter. I am a US citizen. My wife is a Turkish citizen and a US Green Card holder. Our daughter is a US citizen and a Turkish citizen. We are all US residents. I have a sister who is also an American and a resident of my state. My wife has a Turkish sister who lives in Istanbul. We want to know if we can name a non-US citizen ( wife’s sister) as our daughter’s guardian in the event of our premature deaths? What are the practical implications of such a choice? How would our daughter get to Istanbul? Would my sister have any rights?

Asked on February 22, 2012 under Estate Planning, New York


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

There is nothing preventing you from establishing a legal guardian for your daughter in the event that somehting unfortunate happened to you and your wife. The citizenship of the guardian will not be an issue. Age (over 18) ia needed. I recommend an alternate guardian as well.

I suggest that you consult with a Wills and trust attorney about your request. You will need your daughter to get a passport for travel to Istanbul as well as the guardian and hope that both get appropriate visas.

Unless you name your sister as your daughter's guardian, she would have no legal rights to raise your daughter in the event of your and your spouse's premature departure.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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