Child Custody After Death of Parents

March 29, 2022

Grieving child after a death of a parent

Child Custody After Death of Parents

The death of a parent of a minor child can be one of the most unstable times for the entire extended family. Depending on their age, the child may be struggling to comprehend what’s even happening, much less understand where they may be living in the coming months, and the remaining family members will be carrying the weight of their own grief and the child’s.

Child custody after a parental death is a complex issue with many variables to consider. Knowing your options as a parent or a relative of a minor child is the best way to ensure the child is properly cared for after the death of a parent. The dedicated family law attorneys at Dowden & Smith are here to help with reliable and honest legal advice. Contact our office today and schedule a free consultation to hear your options and to start planning for the future.

A child and tutor drawing after the death of a parentTutorship And Child Custody After a Child is Orphaned

The most important aspect to consider when determining custody is if the last surviving parent had what is referred to as a tutorship by will, in which the deceased parent appoints someone to be named tutor of their children. Tutorship is Louisiana’s version of guardianship, in which someone other than a parent (the tutor) is in charge of managing the child’s affairs. This person usually has custody of the child. Tutorship by will still need court approval.

Child custody and tutorship after the last surviving parent dies is more complicated if the parent did have a tutorship by will. The court will then attempt to appoint a tutor from the child’s relatives, including grandparents, aunts, uncles, and older siblings.

[Related: Joint Vs. Shared Custody]

Child Custody and Tutorship After Custodial Parent Dies

Child custody after a parent dies varies greatly depending on the circumstances. If divorced parents have joint custodial rights, the other parent will likely become the sole guardian of the surviving child.

However, if a parent with sole custody passes away and has a tutorship by will, the court may name the person appointed by the deceased parent to be the tutor of the child.

In all of these situations, hiring an experienced attorney is vital, as the laws regarding tutorship and custody can be very complicated when a parent (or both parents) passes away.

Whether you’re a legal guardian or a parent planning for the future, knowing all possible outcomes and preparing is the best way to protect the child’s best interests. For help with child custody after a parent dies, contact our experienced and compassionate family law attorneys at Dowden & Smith. Our team will help you understand your options and, if needed, create a will and tutorship plan so that your family is never left in doubt.

[Related: The Difference Between a Will & Estate Plan]

A sad child being hugged by a guardian Plan Ahead for Child Custody After a Parent Dies

Child custody after a parent dies can be overwhelming to the surviving family, and situations around these cases vary highly. Whether you’re a parent or you believe you’re the best person to become the child’s caretaker, planning ahead and consulting with a qualified lawyer is the best option. Whether it’s drafting a will, with a tutorship appointment, a separate tutorship declaration, or an estate plan, you can trust the experienced attorneys at Dowden & Smith.

Our team of family law attorneys is here to help you with compassionate and honest legal advice. Contact our office today by calling 337-238-2800 and schedule a free consultation.



The contents of this website do not constitute legal advice. The information contained on this site is for general information only and should not be applied to any specific situation. Any use of the site does not create or constitute a client-lawyer relationship between Dowden & Smith and the user of the site. If you require legal advice, consult with an experienced attorney.

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