Speaking Point: Michael Jackson died leaving 3 kids behinds. The two older children, Paris and Prince, were born to Jackson while he was married to their mother Deborah Rowe. Jackson’s third child, known as Blanket, was born with the help of an undisclosed surrogate. After Michael’s death, his two oldest children had a living parent. But what about little Blanket? The only parent he ever had is now gone.
Dr. Sheila Forman is both a clinical psychologist and attorney who comments on the psychological and legal issues affecting our society today. She is the author of several self-help books, a radio host, and is on the faculty of Loyola Marymount University.
Speaking Point: · In Jackson’s will he named his mother, Katherine Jackson, as guardian of Blanket and his two other children.
Speaking Point: · Because the other two children still have a biological mother the situation is more complicated. But, since Jackson was Blanket’s sole parent this is an easier situation. Here no one else is stepping in to seek guardianship.
Speaking Point: · A common mistake people make is thinking that when parents name a guardian for their children in a will, that person automatically becomes the guardian if the parent dies.
Speaking Point: · Even though Katherine was named as guardian in Jackson’s will, she still has to file a request to be named guardian and ask a court to confirm the parent's wishes.
Speaking Point: · A guardianship of the person is generally granted when neither natural parent of the child is not available, for whatever reason, to have custody of the child. Guardianships last until the child reaches 18 years of age
Speaking Point: · Once the guardian obtains custody, the guardian will then have all the powers and all the obligations toward the child as if the child was his/her own biological child, this includes ensuring the children's health, welfare, and safety needs are met, making all educational and medical decisions for the child; providing the child with food, shelter and clothing; and stepping into the shoes of a parent.
Speaking Point: · A guardianship of the estate is appointed when there is no parent available to care for the child's separate estate. The person appointed becomes responsible for managing all of the child's assets. This requires that all monies of the child be kept separate from the guardian's, that the guardian account to the child and to the court as to the location of the monies, and that the money be safeguarded so that the assets remain intact to return to the child at the appropriate age.