Dear Stefanie:
       I have a grown daughter who is married and has 3 minor children.
Unfortunately, my daughter’s father-in-law is not a nice person – he is awful with money, meddles terribly in her affairs and causes problems. What are his rights to get guardianship of the children if something happens to her and her husband?

-Peeved on Pomona

Dear Peeved on Pomona:
I completely understand your concerns. If something were to happen to your daughter and her husband, a guardian would need to be appointed by the court over any minors. If your daughter hasn’t put anything in writing to nominate guardians (or to discourage the appointment of a particular person), then the judge has no instructions directly from her to guide the decision.
In this situation, all interested parties would present their case for being appointed guardian. Unfortunately, without something in writing from her expressing her wishes, the father-in-law could more easily sway the judge to be named guardian.
Everybody with minor children should (at least) have guardian nominations and, ideally, some instructions for the guardians. Without this, there is more uncertainty over what happens. You should talk to your daughter and encourage her to get this going!

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