Why do we as legal parents have to have a judge declare us guardians?

UPDATED: Jan 5, 2012

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Why do we as legal parents have to have a judge declare us guardians?

A family friend has just passed away and left my son (15 years old) a little money. We have sent the insurance company all documentation (i.e. birth certificates, etc.). They now require us to go to court and have a local judge declare us guardians of our own child. Why? He is our legal, tax deductible child? Why do we need a judge to declare us guardians?

Asked on January 5, 2012 under Insurance Law, Pennsylvania


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Since your son is a minor, he cannot represent himself in a legal matter.  Therefore, you will need to represent his interest and act on his behalf.  In order to do that, you will need to be appointed guardian ad litem.  The court will appoint you guardian ad litem.  The insurance company might have the documents you will need to complete in order to be appointed guardian ad litem by the court.  As guardian ad litem, you will be able to sign legal documents in this matter on behalf of your son and represent his interests.

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