Can I appoint guardianship of my daughter in my Will if I have full custody?

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Can I appoint guardianship of my daughter in my Will if I have full custody?

My daughter is 5 years old. Her mother’s rights have been suspended, she gets supervised visits one weekend per month with her parents, my daughter’s maternal grandparents. My family, including my mom, stepdad, sister and sister-in-law have helped me to raise my daughter since she was an infant. I am currently thinking of a Will just in case something should happen to me. Can I appoint guardianship of my daughter to my family should something happen to me. Would the courts give me child to her mother in my untimely death, even though we’ve been to court numerous times, to my child to be taken away from my family, as

that is all she has ever known.

Asked on August 15, 2016 under Family Law, Georgia

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Even though you do not trust your daughter's mother to care for her if something were to happen to you, a court will typically grant custody to a child's surviving parent unless that parent has legally abandoned the child or is clearly unfit. You did not indicate as to why you have sole custody of your daughter or why the mother only has supervised visitiation. If it is due to chronic drug/alcohol abuse, mental illness, or a history of child abuse and accordingly you believe that the other parent is incapable of properly caring for your child or won't assume the responsibility, you could write a letter to the court explaining why you want guardianship to go to your family in the event of your death. At this point, you should consult directly with an attorney who specializes in custody cases; they can best advise you further after hearing all of the details of your situation.


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